The NaNoWriMo Challenge

November Novel

It’s almost November, and that means NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.

For those who don’t know, that’s National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve never heard of it, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that there’s an online community of writers who pledge to complete a novel in only thirty days.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?

But every year since 1999, thousands have proven that it can be done. The idea started small, but has continued to grow every year. Hundreds of those novels have gone on to be published by traditional publishers, while hundreds more have been self-published.

The goal is a complete first draft, a minimum of 50,000 words in thirty days or less. That’s less than 2,000 words per day. Anyone can enter. There’s no entry fee, and it’s simple to participate.

• Sign up on the website nanowrimo.org

• Describe your novel – title, genre, brief synopsis. (You can be as brief as you want, and you can change the title later.)

• Start writing on November 1.

• Update your word count after each writing session.

• When complete, paste your full text into the online word-count validator. If you have 50,000 or more words, you win! (It’s a tool that merely counts words. No one reads it. The story remains yours to edit or do with as you wish.)

The site contains lots of support, pep talks from publishers and authors, and resources. You can earn achievement badges and connect with other writers who are participating. There are regional groups and some areas form local groups that meet in person.
In 2017, more than 58,000 people completed their goal. This year, they expect over 400,000 people to participate. And many of them will “win” by reaching their word-count goal. You could be one of them.

Why not give it a try? Grab one of those ideas you have in the back of your mind, sign up, and on November 1, start writing. Remember, this is a first draft, so don’t waste time editing and polishing. Just tell your story.

What have you got to lose? That deadline and daily word-count goal might be just what you need to get that novel out of your head and onto the page.


Kim VernonKim Vernon’s poetry and short stories have won several local, state and regional contests, most notably the 2015 Lucidity Ozark Poetry Retreat Grand Prize.

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