Books begin as dreams, floating just out-of-reach in the enigmatic space between waking and sleeping where ideas and shapes of imaginary characters and terrifying plots and macabre climaxes bump against each other until someone … or something … opens the door to the mind and lets them fall as drops of inky nonsense on blank screens or flattened, bleached out tree pulp.
Doesn’t matter if a writer has 50 books or 50 sentences tucked in his or her quiver of expertise. All writers start here, in the dream space. Some take off and run like Louis Zamperini with their work until they not only conquer but lap opponent writers. Others are stuck in the repetitive scene in which their legs can’t move and they’re being chased by a faceless enemy–most likely a maniac resembling whomever in their lives told them they could/would/should never be a real writer.
Whichever camp you fall in–confident word slayer or trembling pantywaist–NaNoWriMo is for YOU.
I’ve used it anonymously for a nonfiction manuscript that made it nowhere back in 2006.
I used it in 2011 for a novel which I never completed, but which several pieces have since emerged in subsequent (and one soon-to-be-published) novels.
And this year, I’m using NaNoWriMo again to finish my third novel which is 100% outlined, 20% done, and needs a kick-in-the-pants incentive for me to finish the last 50,000 words.
For me, the best part about NaNoWriMo 2014 (besides the fact that it’s FREE!!!) is that two of my three teenagers are participating, too! They even have a special arm of the event for young writers which is fantastic, called the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program. I’ve heard some teachers even use it at schools.
So that’s what NaNoWriMo is–a proverbial fire under the butts of everyone and anyone who’s even remotely had even the slightest feeling that writing a book is for them. Fiction or nonfiction, zombie or Amish, horror or romance, dystopian or Southern, the genre and the subject doesn’t matter. No one’s judging you or your writing.
The only thing that matters is that you get 50,000 words of it on paper/computer.
Which really just boils down to:
Jump over the hurdles of doubt or procrastination or whatever’s holding you back and write.
Here’s some more information from the NaNoWriMo press release, below. And you can always peruse the website for instructions on how to get started. It’s super easy and super fun. Use as many or as few of the tools offered on the website as is convenient for you.
Press Release: 400,000 Writers, 2,000 Classrooms, 200 Countries: National Novel Writing Month 2014 is Boundless
Berkeley, CA (October 16, 2014) — National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is celebrating
its 16th year of empowering diverse voices, supporting writers in the classroom, and building
creativewriting communities around the world.
NaNoWriMo challenges people to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November.
NaNoWriMo 2014 is the year of “Your Boundless Novel,” with gorgeous design from Simon &
Schuster children’s book designer Elizabeth Doyle.
Empowering Diverse Voices
This year, NaNoWriMo expects 400,000 participants from 616 affiliated chapters across six
continents. “Every year, we’re reminded that there are still stories that have yet to be told, still
voices yet to be heard from all corners of the world,” says Executive Director Grant Faulkner.
“NaNoWriMo helps people make creativity a priority in life and realize the vital ways our
stories connect us. We are our stories.”
This year, six published authors will be writing pep talk letters to mentor these storytellers.
These authors include Veronica Roth, Jim Butcher, and Tamora Pierce. In partnership with
We Need Diverse Books, NaNoWriMo is also providing resources to participants interested
in writing diverse representation into their novels.
Debbie Millman, president of the design division at Sterling Brands, returns to run 30 Covers,
30 Days, which provides both NaNoWriMo and Young Writers Program participants the
unique validation of professionally designed book covers for their novelsinprogress.
Teaching Writing SelfEfficacy
To fully develop as writers, students need to develop a belief in their writing ability alongside
basic skills. NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program focuses on developing this selfefficacyin the classroom, while also teaching writing fluency, effective goalsetting, and project management.
This year, NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program expects 100,000 students and educators to
participate, using our virtual classroom management tools, closed social network, and free
Common Corealigned curriculum.
Kate Schatz, chair of the School of Literary Arts at the Oakland School for the Arts says,
“NaNoWriMo is a chance for my students to experience a sustained and focused project.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s an experiment in tamping down the voice that makes them
doubt and delete.”
NaNoWriMo YWP will also send 2,000 free classroom resource kits to educators and students
around the world.
Christina Broderson, library assistant at the Zurich International School, says, “Parents visit
the library and tell me how they’ve watched their child grow with NaNoWriMo, becoming more
confident with each word written.”
This year, 816 volunteers, called Municipal Liaisons, will coordinate inperson writeins,
turning their local coffee shops, bookstores, and living rooms into writing havens.
“Many of our participant writers aren’t content with creating worlds on the page. They
graduate to building amazing, creative, local communities, who are actively engaged with their
neighborhood organizations and businesses,” says Sarah Mackey, Director of Community
In addition, our Come Write In program will partner with 700 libraries, bookstores, and other
neighborhood spaces, providing free resources to help build their local creative communities.
National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes all stories matter. Through
our programs, including the Young Writers Program, the Come Write In program, and Camp
NaNoWriMo, we empower and encourage vibrant creativity around the world.