Did you know that Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Wool by Hugh Howey, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, were all begun for one of the annual NaNoWriMo challenges? Anyone who says that NaNo is just a bit of silliness for wannabe writers might want to ponder that a while, and anyone who is finding their writing stuck or slow going right now might want to consider taking up that challenge this year. You can take it as seriously or not seriously as you like. It’s only thirty days, so the world won’t end if you don’t make your word count or if you absolutely hate what you wrote, but if you’re having trouble getting nice chunks of words down towards your WIP, this little challenge should get you going. I see that there is also a twenty percent discount to purchase Scrivener for this year’s players, so if you’ve been thinking about getting that, here’s your chance.

You can write anything you want to. It doesn’t have to be a brand new book. You can continue to write something you’ve already started, as long as you only add the newly typed sections for each day to your official word count. Only you know what you’ve typed, because NaNoWriMo don’t save your work when you go to add your daily count on the site, so it’s not possible for anyone to ever read it unless you publish it, so typos and gremlins mean absolutely nothing. In fact, the last thing you want to be doing is looking back every day over what you wrote the day before. Just zoom straight on through to the end before editing anything. Another fine lesson to learn for those of us who over edit as we write. NaNoWriMo cured me of that.

The whole premise of the NaNo is to write fifty thousand words of a novel in thirty days, which works out to roughly one thousand, six hundred and sixty seven words written per day. This is your rough draft, so it doesn’t matter if there are plot holes in there. You write around them, and then fix them later if you decide to publish the book. If you win the challenge, you get the badge for this year, and also whatever swag they have going as prizes, which can come in really handy too – like getting free CreateSpace copies if you publish your NaNo novel.

If you’re competing this year, remember to stock your freezers now with food that can just be defrosted for some November meals, and get lists done of chores that your family and friends can do to help you out for that time too. The site launches on the fifth of October. Zoom over to the NaNoWriMo site to sign up, and then create your NaNo novel project by going to My Novels under the NaNoWriMo tab from that date.

NaNoWriMo