November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. A month dedicated to completing one 50,000 word novel. I competed (and won) last year and it was experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Normally if I come across a problem while writing I can sit on it for days (or years in some cases) until the solution presents itself. But with the time constraints of NaNoWriMo you are forced to think on your feet and I honestly think it worked out for the better. I am of the mindset that deadlines make people more imaginative. NaNoWriMo is free to participate in, but it is not free to maintain the site and provide all the fun stuff that they do, so I encourage all of you writers, and non-writers, to donate whatever you can so that NaNoWriMo can continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Here’s the press release for 2012:

Creative Mayhem Sweeps Across the Globe

Berkeley, California (October 1, 2012) – If on November 1 you hear furious keyboard pounding echoing around the world, fear not. It is the sound of more than 250,000 people beginning a literary challenge of epic proportions: 30 days, 50,000 words, and one original novel.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing event and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.

“NaNoWriMo is the writing world’s version of a marathon,” said Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month. “Writers exit the month with more than a novel; they’ve experienced a transformative creative journey.”

More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience.

“Not only did I write 50,000 words by November 30, I also had cheerleaders from the next block, from across the Atlantic and from NaNoWriMo daily blogs,” said participant, Twana Biram. “Imagine getting pep talks through the heavy irony and hilarity of Lemony Snicket, and the clarity and appreciation of fan fiction from Mercedes Lackey.”

With NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program, that community crosses age boundaries into K-12 classrooms around the globe. The YWP allows kids and teens to set their own word-count goals, and offers educators high-quality free resources to get nearly 100,000 students writing original, creative works.

Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer, all #1 New York Times Best Sellers.

“You can’t revise what isn’t written yet, right? This novel-in-a-month challenge is such a fantastic way to jump-start your story,” said Lindsey Grant, NaNoWriMo’s Program Director. “Plus it is officially the most fun—and effective—way to shed the constant self-doubts and inner-criticisms and simply pour that story onto the page.”

For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit www.nanowrimo.org or contact press@nanowrimo.org.

The Office of Letters and Light is a California-based international nonprofit organization. Its programs are the largest literary events in the world. Learn more at www.lettersandlight.org.

You can find out more info at www.nanowrimo.org

I will be competing again this year, will you? If so, look me up and we can be “writing buddies.”

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