Join the annual NaNoWriMo writing challenge

2020 NANOWRIMO: Game On

NaNoWriMo writing challenge, are you ready?

The NaNoWriMo writing challenge begins November 1st. It’s not too soon or too late to begin prepping for the upcoming writing contest of the year. I’ve been participating off and on since it began. Sometimes I go for one full manuscript or work to complete fifty thousand words of a current manuscript, sometimes I divide it up between several works. Sometimes it’s nonfiction and sometimes it not. Sometimes I finish and sometimes I don’t. However I participate, the result is that I’m much further along with the project(s) than I was before I signed up. More importantly, for any writer who performs such solitary work it’s a wonderful opportunity to recapture the simple joy of writing and, at the same time, become part of one massive movement to write.

Why is NaNoWriMo the Writing Challenge of the Year?

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with 21 writers. It was a  local event in San Francisco. The next year they had 140 participants. In 2018 450,000 writers participated. So by the sheer amount of participation, NaNoWriMo wins the writing event of the year award.

National November writing challenge for short story and novel writers.
This year’s NaNoWriMo 2020 participant badge.

 What if you fail?

I don’t look at NaNoWriMo that way. Instead, I frame my participation so that I don’t fail even if I don’t reach my wordcount goal. For me t’s an annual motivator, a call to action, and more specifically a way to renew my my desire to write by taking an idea and working it through the full creative process of idea development, prepping process, and writing. It’s a giant exercise in the craft of moving an idea into a work that is substantial and provides me with a new work where I either finish the first draft or make forward movement. In the end, I’m always further ahead than I was at the start. For me it’s a wonderful annual, no-fail project that yields immense rewards.

Have I ever completed a manuscript?

Sweet teen romance bookAs an early NaNoWriMo writer, I completed the first draft of VIDEO MAGIC. The book went on to be traditionally published. Later, I got the rights back and self-published the 10th anniversary edition.

I’ve done that several times but, as I’ve said, I use NaNoWriMo every year for a variety of reasons that work for me. It’s not impossible to meet the 50K goal. I know many writers who successfully manage to cross the finish line. But I also know many who, like me, use NaNoWriMo as a tool to meet their own goals each and every year.

To complete 50K it helps to prepare ahead and have a plan.

What do I have to do to participate in this writing contest?

NaNoWriMo is free. You simply join, set up your profile and project and the rest is up to you. Some people take the pre-November time to develop the idea, work out scene lists, beats, character studies maybe an outline of some sort. Others simply wait until the start time and hit the keyboard. How you work toward your goal is all up to you.

Will I have to write every day?

No, but it helps if only to stay connected to that fragile link to your work. Some people simply can’t. To complete the main goal of the NaNoWriMoTo writing challenge, you write 50K words or an average of 1,667 words per day. If you don’t, then you raise your wordcount per writing session. To complete your personal goal, if different, simply divide the total by the actual number of days you write to get your average wordcount for your writing sessions.

How do I join NaNoWrimo?

Simple. Go to the NaNoWriMo site, set up an account, fill out your profile and project information and you’re ready to go. Of course, you can explore the site, take a look at sponsored offers, find writing buddies, sign up with any number of groups, discover local meet-ups, and read through plenty of motivational and helpful material. Your amount of involvement is totally up to you. So I ask you, what do you have to lose?

To sign up, go here.

P.S.: If you want a “buddy,” look me up (profile name: vikk). I’d love to hear your thoughts about NaNoWriMo, your experience with the challenge or any writing challenges so drop a comment below and let me know what you think. Also, don’t forget to sign up to receive more Writing Joyfully tips, updates, goodies and more.

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