National Novel Writing Month: You Can Do It!

November is just around the corner. Y’know what that means? National Novel Writing Month! (NaNoWriMo for short.)

NaNoWriMo challenges you to write throughout November, piecing together a narrative until, voila! You’ve got a 175-page, 50,000-word novel on your hands.

That may sound daunting, but it’s totally doable! In fact, more than 15,000 people did it last year.

I lasted about two days when I gave it a go during my senior year in college. But you? You’ve got gumption, and an awesome blog here on WordPress.

If you want to go for it, just follow this simple plan:

  • Every day, take a minute to sit down and write a story. You don’t need to have it all planned out, just write.
  • Post each delicious literary morsel to your blog and tag it with “nanowrimo08.”
  • When you’re hitting a wall, use that tag to check out what others are doing and gain inspiration.
  • Go to NaNoWriMo by midnight on Nov. 30 to have your novel verified.
  • Print business cards with your new title: Great American (or Indonesian or Argentinian or…) Novelist.

For some extra motivation, you could read an excellent novel while you write one! Some Automattic faves…

Jane: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, Maus by Art Spiegelman.

Michael: Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, The Plague by Albert Camus, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

Marianne: Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Mark: The Stand (Uncut) by Stephen King.

Nick: Anything by James Patterson.

UPDATE 11/04: A number of you have asked about international participation and writing in other languages. You’re free and welcome to participate, regardless of language or location. Check out the NaNoWriMo FAQ for details.


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327 Comments

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  1. teabea

    So excited about it. It is my first time, and you know what they say about first times. Yeah.

    Like

  2. familygal

    50,000 words? Doesn’t sound too difficult. Unless, of course, they all have to be different words.
    I’m gonna give it a go …

    Like

  3. heretohelpu

    writing is in all of us and this is a great way to learn what you have to offer

    Like

  4. Jay Fingers

    Already working on it. Only ~2500 words into it so far, but I’m motivated! This will be my first attempt at novel writing, so I’m geeked! 🙂

    Like

  5. Pingback: NaNoWriMo has begun! « Water Ouzel
  6. r14n994

    Very cool.n i am happy for information your give me.thank yoo.

    Like

  7. linneawrites

    Dagnammit, you tempt me to attempt NaNo again! I can’t! I have no time! I have two jobs! I have a schedule… I have a plot idea… … Dangit!

    Like

  8. Pingback: Serial Novel - NaNoWriMo08 « The Jen Hamilton Blog
  9. jhOy imPeRiaL

    wow! this is awesome…

    kinda feel like joining 😀

    Like

  10. Pingback: NaNoWriMo 2008 « jhoy imperial and the web
  11. Brian Lutz

    I’ve contemplated doing this for a number of years now, but November generally ends up being a really lousy time for me to do something like this, so I haven’t ever tried it. I’ve got an idea for something that I’d like to do (perhaps in Blog format even) but I’m thinking that would be something that would work out far better over the course of a year or more than to try to squeeze the whole thing into a month.

    Like

  12. plegmund

    I’m on 4,800 words – but now it’s Monday: what do I do now??!?

    Like

  13. Jonathan

    Is it possible for me to write it in french, or does it have to be absolutely in english. I mean, will there be someone to check it even if it’s in french instead of english?

    Good idea By the way, like it, may try it, don’t know yet!!
    Thanks!

    Like

  14. Pingback: I wish they held it not on this month « livergirl
  15. Carly

    Yay for NaNo! I’m a longtime veteran (this’ll make five years) and I’m going for my second win. It’s really a great way to jump start your writing, especially if you work well with insane deadlines like I do.

    Like

  16. Eru

    OMG, I don’t know whether I will survive trough it 😀

    Like

  17. chungangerz

    what language should i use? english only?

    Like

  18. Pingback: NaNoWriMo: A Preface « Dy’s Mind’s Eye
  19. fusedglass

    Does that name rhyme with Jeronimo? And if so, is it a lucky coincidence (or is there ‘no such thing as coincidence’)?

    Like

  20. Pingback: National Novel Writing Month « Writings on My Wall
  21. mabildatorres

    Its an interesting idea, but does it only work in English, or can we use other language?

    Like

  22. Florentijn

    Everybody is Kung-Fu writing!

    Like

  23. hiphiphura

    wowww!! i’ll try it! thanks for the info ;p

    Like

  24. hiphiphura

    well. i little bit confused. in nanowrimo, do we post our things or just continued the other story with our idea? thanks.

    Like

  25. Martin

    50,000 words is HALF a novel.

    Like

  26. Pingback: “Novel” writing month « T Y P E F A C E
  27. mzstudios

    could be in spanish?

    Like

  28. Heather

    @mzstudios and others: I’ve updated this post with a note about language and international participation.

    Like

  29. Chris Evans

    I love it that you’re publicizing this! I always hear about it RIGHT AFTER IT HAPPENS! But not this year . . . .

    Like

  30. Pingback: Don’t get it right, get it written « scribbles on a virtual cocktail napkin
  31. calpattypress

    I write 2000 words everyday, I just can’t stop!

    Wrote a novella, and the characters came alive much to my surprise.

    I’ve had old friends find me through stories somewhere lost on the internet, that I forgot that I wrote years ago.

    Like

  32. In10Words aka "Galileo"

    All of my entries are 10 words long. This is gonna take forever :p

    Like

  33. jerushamichael

    Just the thought that I can write anything other than business related stuff is exciting!

    Like

  34. chambermade

    Like others, I’ve been trying to finish my novel every month for the last couple of years! Setting aside a month to complete 50,000 words is no use if they are just scribblings of no quality. We all know there will be the exceptions, best sellers penned in a few days, but the rule rather than the exception is that it takes forever to get something like my 23,000+ words down and that’s only after years of writing and editing!
    Remebr folks, quality takes timeand effort, quantity just takes the time to type it all.

    Like

  35. laurette37

    Ok, I’m very happy to see this challenge happen but I have a little question which is kind of very important for me… The novel should be in english or can I write it in my natal language ? (excuse if my english is not correct^^)
    So, if you tell me I have to write it in english, that’s ok, I will probably think that is a good exercise but hope that won’t be a torture for the one who will read it :s

    Like

  36. pprmint777

    Yep, I’m at it again, too. Last year’s attempt got me a finalist spot in a nationwide competition, even if I did only get 15,000 words in at NaNo.

    This year, I’m shootin’ for the works! 50,000 by Nov 30, and another finalist spot, if not a win this time! And, who knows, publication?

    Good luck to everyone taking up the task!

    Like

  37. wwkd

    playing makes perfect
    and sometimes it takes 50,000 minutes of play to get to
    one gazillion percent of a smile
    no pickles or ketchup please
    and if it must be included make it organic
    why panic?
    editing comes later
    write write write
    that’s what it’s all about

    Like

  38. scifialiens

    An interesting challenge. It generally takes me three months to write a 70,000 (plus) word novel.

    Like

  39. Pingback: Introduction « Eight.Four.Six.Three
  40. saluyot

    i am an iluko writer,
    naa… i have never write an english article…
    lets try the challenge

    Like

  41. Juneau

    Oh my God!
    I don´t know if I´ll get it this year.
    Most of my stories and entries are about 100 words (or least).
    I´m gonna be slave of the coffee if I want to put some decent post this month T_T

    Like

  42. grimescene

    I am gonna do it! I am gonna do it! Phew…exhausted already…how will I last 50000?

    Like

  43. TallulahBankhead

    I’ve been a spiritual cul de sac but I think this could be the kick in the pants I need!

    Like

  44. Pingback: I’m doing National Novel Writing Month…. « Tallulah Bankhead
  45. haemin

    this is so inspiring. and i have a novel idea bumping around in my head, but what to call it? Letters To My Father? 1.5 Generation Daughter? To the Korea Times in LA?

    i would have to disagree with Martin, 175 pages is a novel. 90 pages is a novella.

    happy writing one and all!

    Like

  46. Pingback: Luna LuNu « e m e r o l o g h e i o n
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  48. Pamela Currie

    this is a challenge!

    Like

  49. miamicheapcarrental

    All of my entries are 10 words long. This is gonna take forever :p

    Like

  50. eupdate

    Nah, not for me.. no authentication.. anyone can just copy paste anything from anywhere, no real acclaim and most of all, no distinguishing between the real and fake. Crap.

    Like

  51. Pingback: Writing Challenge « Claire Perez E. Blog
  52. chib3h

    This is an awesome way to unwind~ ^^ Do they have this every year?

    Like

  53. flighttoinsanity

    well i hope i can gain some momentum on my novel this month, but i don’t think there is any way i can finish it in november.

    Like

  54. Samojad

    What, if it will be in Polish?
    Who will verify it?
    Babelfish?
    😀

    Like

    • Douglas

      They just count words. Here is what their FAQ says:

      “You can write novels in any language you like. Our validator doesn’t handle non-Latin characters sets, sadly, so there may be an issue with becoming an official winner. But this is just icing on the NaNoWriMo cake, and we encourage you to write in whatever language is most comfortable for you.”

      Like

  55. Chandra Kamaria

    I’m working on a play. I will use NaNoWriMo as the fuel to get this play completed by Nov. 30. I will NOT post it to any of my blogs because I don’t want it stolen and performed before I get a chance to do it myself. What I will do is write a blurb about the play on my blogs so that readers will know it’s in the works!

    Like

  56. stupidisthenewblog

    yay – i’m gonna write a novel!

    long long time ago, man lived. he was sad. then he met girl. he happy.

    done! i’m so awesome.

    Like

  57. tehthe

    When deadline this competition?

    Like

  58. hellopayton

    I have no other life, I might as well. 😛 I’m excited.

    Like

  59. wstewart79

    I’ve been toying with the idea of a novel. Well, actually more of a series for teens. This could be the start I need!

    Like

  60. arryabudhiman

    Its possible…

    Like

  61. arinvsfayra

    WOOOOOWWWW!!!!

    Its so amazing!

    I really appreciated it, inside I have been writing novel, and now i have one novel published…

    i wanna join this!

    Like

  62. ayumikat

    if i decided to participate it will be the first time for me…so I dunno if i’ll stick till the end. but it sounds like fun though.

    Like

  63. Pingback: NaNoWriMo ==>NaRoSkrMå « *** victoria ***
  64. aeonianblog

    it’s a fantastic opportunity…i have been thinking abt writing a novel since 2006…and as a fact i even started writing one…but dropped the idea it after a week….may b i cud give it a try now…

    Like

  65. Ashish Gourav

    I think I’ll give it a try…

    Like

  66. bhartilegros

    I would love to try it. I have stories swimming in my head. Does it have to have an ending, what if time’s up and I’m in the middle of it…

    Like

  67. abesheet

    But that would mean my blog readers would be able to read it!?

    Like

  68. blueshelley

    this is great, I have not really writen in a long time… I found my self scribbling notes to myself on little pieces of paper and post-its at work the other day. YES! the block is broken, I think 😉 now, if i can just get to the weekend…

    Like

  69. Pramathesh Borkotoky

    I hv never tried writing in such a big scale. I will try this. Sounds quite interesting and challenging.

    Like

  70. cyberfaust

    i won last year i believe.

    Like

  71. laurabruno

    Funny, this came through on my blog today right after receiving and confirming the sense that I absolutely must finish my novel (1st in a series of 5) by the end of 2008. I already have about 45,000 words and was feeling a bit overwhelmed to get the other half done by December. NaNoWriMo reminded me that it’s at least possible. Because the novel’s already in progress, I will just list occasional updates rather than post the text, but it’s nice to join a community already cranking out a ton of text. I begin again on Saturday the 8th. Cheers!

    Like

  72. meli

    Hmmm … tempting. So, who owns the story at the end?

    Like

    • Douglas

      Their FAQ says this: “Novels that are uploaded to us for verification and victory between November 25 and November 30 are counted by a computer script, and then automatically deleted. We do not read or keep any novels sent in, and NaNoWriMo authors retain all rights to everything they write during the event.”

      Like

  73. Pingback: National Novel Writing Month « Constant Scholars
  74. Jose HC

    I just noticed this post today. What a great idea. Should keep thousands busy this month. Not sure what to do… Haven’t been hit with the ‘I want to be a novelist-bug’ since high school. Time is much too scarce these days. Maybe after the family goes to bed…

    Like

  75. Pingback: The “NaNoWriMo08″ Project « My e-Shoe Box
  76. garg007

    i m not planning to do it….for all who are …all the best….

    Like

  77. Timun

    awesome .. count me in! 🙂

    Like

  78. andyan

    ganbatte all!!!
    give your best shot!!!
    i’ll learn and may be try to join next year, eheheh

    Like

  79. Elizabeth

    On my fifth year and I always enjoyed it whether or not I reach the 50,000-word goal!

    Like

  80. karensings

    I want to do it! I have had a book idea rolling around in my head for about three years. Time to put proverbial pen to paper.

    Like

  81. Pingback: November — National Novel Writing Month!! « Cornerinsight
  82. vampirelore

    Oh wow! I like the sound of this! 😀

    Like

  83. Pingback: We ought to give this a try! « Word Attack!
  84. Pingback: Write a novel? Really? « Thoughts from the Archangel
  85. Rustam

    How pity, I’m late. Certainly will go next year, if alive….

    Like

  86. Michelle Merrill

    I’m not gonna blog it, but I am gonna write it. It’s only been gestating about 9 years, so a month of labor pains might get it pushed out.

    Best of luck to us all. Just keep writing!

    Like

  87. Pingback: National Novel Writing Month « Overblaze’s Impact
  88. st0nedatheist

    Might do this just for the hell of it.

    Like

  89. unsignedmasterpiece

    Maybe it’s time to register my other blog – unpublished manuscript.

    Good luck everybody.

    Like

  90. telcontarrulz

    Yay! This year I might actually get to do it! All the previous years, NaNoWriMo has coincided with exams. Good luck to everyone!

    Like

  91. since

    i like this ideea 🙂

    Like

  92. simplyscott

    oh, i’m not exactly participating, but i’m using it as motivation to work on my own novel, which i started last July! good luck to everyone!

    Like

  93. AgingChild

    I’m actually just under ninety pages into a genuine delight of an unplanned novel… although I admit I started on it this Spring. It’s been fun, it’s been *funny*, and may actually be very _good_.

    Issue: I’ve got the absolute bejeepers about posting it (at all, let alone piece-by-piece) on a public blog – any auto-harvester, any unscrupulous, can simply help him/herself to my content and claim it as her/his own… it’s already been done with a number of my blog-posted rants and raves.

    Like

  94. tattoogirl13

    Wow, I’m going to have to give this a shot. I’ve never written more than a short story before though.

    Like

  95. In10Words aka "Galileo"

    To AgingChild:

    I see what you mean. Someone in this very comment thread copy & pasted my own comment verbatim.

    -In 10 Words aka “Galileo.”

    Like

  96. Feanare

    I am now done with more than 11000 words. This might become an okay story some day, we’ll see.

    Like

  97. charliekitten

    I’ve only just stumbled on this and I’ll have a go, but it’s timed to mess with my third year assignments :S anywho lol maybe it’ll help with my portfolio. Don’t know if i’ll be publishing though…

    Like

  98. laurabarbosa

    If I wrote about my life as an Artist, I could probably generate a Novel. The ups and downs, family life, influences etc…

    Like

  99. Pingback: Crazy? Definitely, maybe « backstagepiphany
  100. nickie wang

    This sounds interesting but it’s already Nov. 9 or 8 (ha timezones). Might do it next year!

    Like

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