Wednesday, November 16, 2016

by Steven D. Mathews
Have you started your novel yet? If it’s November, it’s also time for National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization since 2005, NaNoWriMo offers a worldwide challenge to “anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel” to begin writing on November 1 and finish a 50,000-word (i.e., around 200 pages) novel by November 30. Writers receive social encouragement (“pep talks”), progress reports, and networking opportunities through the NaNoWriMo website.

NaNoWriMo started with just a group of 21 San Francisco writers in July 1999, including Chris Baty, the founder of the organization. In 2000, the group shifted from July to November to find a creative way to deal with the colder weather. Gradually, participation grew exponentially through the internet and social media. Using the hashtag #NaNoWriMo on Twitter spreads encouragement and support that people are meeting their daily/weekly goals.

Some of the numbers from the NaNoWriMo website are incredible. For example, last November, “431,626 participants, including 80,137 students and educators in the Young Writers Program, started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”

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