November is National Novel Writing Month. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short was started in 1999 by Chris Baty. Baty started the event to encourage writers to pump out a novel in only one month’s time! It sounds impossible, right? Wrong. In 2016 the official website boasted over 300,000 participants. Thirty-four thousand of those participants finished their novel by the end of November! Some popular novels have been born out of the program including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.
But the event isn’t just about finishing a novel. NaNoWriMo started the Young Writers Program in 2004. The program encourages kids to unlock their inner novelist. K-12 classrooms are provided with free resource materials - student workbooks, lesson plans for teachers, and reward items like stickers and pencils. Students who sign-up for accounts on the official website also gain access to virtual classroom spaces and forums for other young writers like themselves. Funds are raised for the YWP through participants of NaNoWriMo.
To raise money for the YWP, NaNoWriMo holds their annual Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon. The event is held in San Francisco in the middle of November. Interested writers are required to not only buy tickets for the night, but also to raise money prior to and during the event. The night consists of eating, drinking, being merry, and devoting ten minutes of every hour to writing furiously.
Join the official website to get started on your November novel! You’ll gain access to forums where you can talk with other writers and you’ll have a place to track your progress! There are only two requirements: that you do not start writing the novel until November 1st and that you try to finish 50,000 words of your novel by November 30th.