National Novel Writing Month: You Can Do It!

November is just around the corner. Y’know what that means? National Novel Writing Month! (NaNoWriMo for short.)

NaNoWriMo challenges you to write throughout November, piecing together a narrative until, voila! You’ve got a 175-page, 50,000-word novel on your hands.

That may sound daunting, but it’s totally doable! In fact, more than 15,000 people did it last year.

I lasted about two days when I gave it a go during my senior year in college. But you? You’ve got gumption, and an awesome blog here on WordPress.

If you want to go for it, just follow this simple plan:

  • Every day, take a minute to sit down and write a story. You don’t need to have it all planned out, just write.
  • Post each delicious literary morsel to your blog and tag it with “nanowrimo08.”
  • When you’re hitting a wall, use that tag to check out what others are doing and gain inspiration.
  • Go to NaNoWriMo by midnight on Nov. 30 to have your novel verified.
  • Print business cards with your new title: Great American (or Indonesian or Argentinian or…) Novelist.

For some extra motivation, you could read an excellent novel while you write one! Some Automattic faves…

Jane: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, Maus by Art Spiegelman.

Michael: Story of the Eye by Georges Bataille, Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre, The Plague by Albert Camus, Crime and Punishment and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

Marianne: Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

Mark: The Stand (Uncut) by Stephen King.

Nick: Anything by James Patterson.

UPDATE 11/04: A number of you have asked about international participation and writing in other languages. You’re free and welcome to participate, regardless of language or location. Check out the NaNoWriMo FAQ for details.


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Heather R.

327 Comments

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  1. the rufus

    Oh my god – I have 6 blogs. Do I have to write 300,000 words? ;)

    Like

  2. Whogopenguin

    I guess this is a good idea.

    Like

  3. legoless

    Mm… cool idea, but I’m not sure I’m up for it.

    Like

  4. artpredator

    Thanks for the encouragement, Heather!

    I just wrote 10,000 words this week in 10 or so posts on the Wine Bloggers Conference, so I am all warmed up and ready to go!

    PS And what will it take to get you to do it this year…C’mon, join us!

    Like

  5. Lilja

    Sounds exciting – and really something to think about :)
    But na… meaning national, could mean only in America?!?

    Like

  6. Heather

    @Lilja: It’s an international event, despite the name. Check out the official answer in the NaNoWriMo FAQ.

    Like

  7. Mukundh Vasudevan

    a friend of mine’s been asking me to write one for a long time but i never really knew where to begin. this seems good enough!! im in :D

    Like

  8. kaysie

    That is awesome!

    Like

  9. richelmore

    I’m on it! My first words will be written tonight at midnight. If anyone else is participating and needs someone to guilt them into honestly writing the whole 50,000 word minimum, send me a message! Happy writing, wordpress!

    Like

  10. johannav

    Right I’ll do it too I’m in

    Like

  11. eldridgebooks

    Sounds fun… I need to make this national work on my other novel month. :-)

    Like

  12. ntrainhome

    I’ll try it, but I write like crap.

    Like

  13. akurion

    it’s only in english?

    Like

  14. Heather

    @akurion: It does not have to be in English, no.

    Like

  15. Will Entrekin

    While it’s wonderful to support writing, real novelists know that every month is novel writing month, because real writers never stop. A badge and a business card do not a great American novelist make, and neither does spewing 50,000 words in 30 days, especially if said words are crap.

    Like

  16. lynnjake

    I did Nanowrimo last year for the first time. It was really fun to see what I’d write each day. This year I have 15 middle school students doing it with me. They have all committed to different numbers of words. Their excitement is contagious! I recommend it. It’s a lot of fun.

    Like

  17. nanowrimoboz

    I’m already in; thanks for the tag info. Started a new blog to track my prep, and another one to do the actual writing.

    Like

  18. Jason

    I’ve been ready to do this for a while. In fact, I’ve been counting down to NaNo all week with tips for what I’ve used to “win” the three years I’ve done it.

    Last year I knocked out the 50,000 in 9 days. I’m hoping to beat that this year.

    Like

  19. Milo

    50,000 words is frightening! Good luck to those who do it though!

    Like

  20. bentoet

    sounds interesting..

    Like

  21. Brigitte

    We could try NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) too!

    Like

  22. Pingback: November is National Novel Writing Month « Shakespeare and Co. Booksellers
  23. Birdwhisperer

    I think it’s so cool that WordPress posted about this! I did it last year too, and I can’t for morning!

    Like

  24. Dominik

    And, hell yeah. That’s a wonderful thing. Well … I love WordPress! Go on! :-)

    Like

  25. Dominik

    Okay, please delete my first comment, I’ve got the answer at the nanowrimo-page. But I’ve another question: Can I write a novel in English and in German (I’ve a German and an English blog … and yeah … I love writing) …

    Like

  26. Dorothy Raheemah

    Sounds juicy, I’ll give it a whirl ~

    Like

  27. tsfiles

    Heather,

    Very interesting.

    However, without a decent plot, NaNoRiMo is much like walking with your eyes closed. You’ll get somewhere, but with some bruises and not where you intended.

    Like

  28. Pingback: National Novel Writing Month « Tall Chick Tales
  29. 2twentythree3

    righteo, im starting! it’s the 1st of november with me!! Does the time difference matter? :P

    Like

  30. teaescapade

    Ever since I heard about it a couple of years ago, I’ve wanted to try it. But I don’t want to disappoint myself. I already have too many things to do – like finish my MBA.

    Good luck to those of you who try it.

    Like

  31. David

    250 words per page,
    2 pages 500
    20 pages 5000
    200 pages 50000

    but it says 175 pages, so that must mean 200/175 x250 words per page = 286 words per page. And I’ve just written 35 words so I am 0.07% of my way to the far horizon. This is moving along just fine. In fact my only worry is that I will keep on working out how far along I am, and divert myself from the task in hand.

    Mmmn. better think of a plot and a name for this novel. How about the Palin Years? A Gothic horror story for our times.

    Like

  32. 1hourstop

    Amazing! This tool will change yourself (and myself :-) Worth taking it. At the end you will only get better at creativity, writing, self-organization, scheduling… You may continue list :-)

    Like

  33. peacelovekindness

    I’m up to the challenge, Heather! I’m game, please count me in… I’m all out for it. I’ve been toying with the ‘day-dream’ of being a novelist for past decades of my life, anyways. So never too late to start today, right?

    NaNoWriMo November 2008 — here goes my debut in aspiring to become the FIRST-EVER and ONLY amateur writer from Brunei Darussalam to win a Booker or Pulitzer Prize award with my novel entitled, “The Sword of Heritage” *Hehehehe* ;) :)

    Like

  34. Heather

    I made it last year despite hearing about it for the first time on November 3rd. And I hope to do it again this year. Come on, everyone, get crackin’! You’re writers, do what you do best!

    Like

  35. Sean

    Boo to Will Entrekin who doesn’t understand the process that NaNoWriMo is encouraging. The emphasis is on having a fun time writing a crappy first draft, generating a chunk of raw material that people can develop and polish over the following months and years. No-one’s expecting to come up with The Brothers Karamazov by the end of Nov. Sheesh.

    Like

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  37. lidissingkung

    Good, challenging and awesome. What do I get in return?

    Like

  38. Heather

    @lidissingkung: Sa-tis-fac-tion :)

    Like

  39. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Whoa « KaliTimes Growing Lunacy
  40. rads

    I’d like to do this. Though could I start on Dec 1st rather? As in will do the 50K words in the month of Dec?
    Just finished post a day for October and am exhausted.

    Like

  41. nielee365

    that’s great..^_^

    Like

  42. squarebrackets

    you know what?
    i’m gonna do it
    yeah, think I will

    x

    Like

  43. draabe

    Oh no! Is it that time again already?!

    Like

  44. Donald Harbour

    Heather
    I have two novels in the can, the completion of desire is sa-tis-fac-tion. Is there completion in this challenge?

    Like

  45. armyofwords

    Ummm…this is very tempting…but it would mean to me like scribbling on a bus ride, on my kitchen sink, on the pedestrian crossing…umm…while on the toilet bowl (?)…well…it’s worth giving a shot, though…thanks :)

    Like

  46. David Ker

    Heather, I’ve got one question. You need to get your novel verified at the end of the process but I’m not sure how you would do that if you had multiple posts. What would I do to dump all that text from my blog into a text file and upload to them when it’s spread across potentially hundreds of posts?

    Like

  47. Heather

    @David Ker: Good question! My suggestion would be to keep your novel running in a text document, copy and pasting as you go — either from the document to your blog or vise versa, depending on how you’re comfortable working. Then you won’t have to worry about attempting to join it all up at the end.

    If you’re copying your work in from Word, be sure to read this page of the FAQ.

    Like

  48. gadiza12

    amazing and awesome ..

    Like

  49. cleffairy

    I’m up to the challenge too! Wooho… all up and flaring! hopefully I’ll manage to complete a novel this year. :-D

    Like

  50. totallyfrida

    Awesome.

    Like

  51. Niki

    I am participating this year (again) but in a totally unprepared way. I am not sure how I’m going to go about it. Wing it, I guess? :) Good luck to all NaNoWrimo-ers!

    Like

  52. Yonatan Prasdikatama

    Hi, Heather. Let’s do it now. :)

    Like

  53. Dara

    I was able to do it last year and hoping to do so again this year! Already cranked out nearly 1400 words. But now my brain is shutting down and demanding sleep…

    Like

  54. poysen

    I love NanoWriMo. This is my third year participating. :)

    Like

  55. bugenvil

    hahah…175 pages…

    So hot for me…

    It s an amazing idea…
    But i think..i cant realize it now..coz my tasks makes me so bad…

    Like

  56. drrsmann

    really gud to hear, challenging to do and when i try to start it today it seems impossible for me at least. But after all i will try to write few page everyday….

    Like

  57. Lubi :)

    Definitely gonna be a part of this :D thanx for the info Heather!!

    Like

  58. nativecoach

    Thanks for the extra motivation to write!

    Like

  59. dodi2all

    this sounds like fun.. count me in.. and yeah i am gonna try and get a few friends to try it as well..

    @everyone here: can we all name our novels and leave it here with a link so that everyone in the contest can read it..

    Like

  60. Caftans Saga

    I’ll write something, but not today.

    Like

  61. zenbiscuit

    I’ve known about it for five years, but this is the first year I’ll be trying out. My stomach is the size of a peanut.

    Like

  62. bugenvil

    ok…its souds interesting…

    just prpare about 5000 wrds to say and write,right!?..

    haha….come on..be a truth novel writer…..

    Like

  63. bangmaston

    I would even love to do it, thanks it’s really inspiring coz at this time I’m facing a very hard life, and I would like to share it..
    so are you the organizer of it heather?
    do i need to pay something??
    coz i’m really pennyless…
    asolutely..
    perhaps this gonna help me sharing my problem..
    but would it be published??

    Like

  64. Heather

    @bangmaston: No, this event is not affiliated with WordPress (or me). We’re just rooting on all who are interesting in trying to make it happen this year. It doesn’t cost anything and, no, there is no guaranteed publication at the end. Please see the official National Novel Writing Month website for details.

    Like

  65. gullybogan

    I retain copyright and i can still sell Penguin the right of first publication, right? Even though it’s already been published?

    I mean, there is something in this for me, right? Most ppl have one good novel in them; does mine get squandered in some hokey meme?

    Like

  66. Abra Bennett

    Could we have a forum or a corner somewhere so that people who are participating can gather for support and encouragement? I think one of the hot topics is not so much about the writing process itself, but about how to get a blog-into-book published.

    Like

  67. Heather

    @Abra Bennett: Sure! I just created a new topic in our Off Topic forum.

    Like

  68. nabinatrisha

    David, I had started the morning sulking bec I keep getting these 2a.m. mails from work even tho am on Diwali vacn, you made me laugh out loud…thanks :)

    Heather, thanks am new here and appreciate this, in fact I wish I could get the whole school to get involved with this (is there some way I can?).

    I don’t care if folks write crap as long as they write, write, write till they get good at it and are enjoying themselves. Er, Will Entrekin up there probably is a real writer…but quite a lot of people here are amateurs to writing and this strange new medium and this is a good way to encourage people to have a go at it :)

    Like

  69. فرنی

    Cool Idea… I think I’ll do it!

    Like

  70. egomaniac

    thanks for the info. this is the first time I hear about this project. interesting!

    Like

  71. sidjustice21

    It’ll take time.. Students hardly have it. But its worth trying.

    Like

  72. literarydeadkittens

    YES! Without a job these past few months I’ve felt the need of external pressure to get some work done. I’ll do it!

    Like

  73. Chittaranjan

    This WP initiative can be named NaBloWriMo! National Blog Writing Month :mrgreen:

    Like

  74. Pingback: Writing a novel? Me? « A Pot of Gold
  75. ian in hamburg

    And if it’s worth paying for… a published book!

    Has anyone ever looked into how many books actually came to print from NaNoWriMo? Would be interesting to find out.

    Like

  76. Isabel Joely Black

    I’m definitely doing it. I’ve done it two years previously, and it’s a great break from my usual fiction to do something different.

    Like

  77. Jim Pedley

    I already have a completed book – “OUT WEST” – sitting on my blog, all twenty-three chapters of it! But it’s not a novel. It’s a sort of travelogue cum final meeting-up with a long-lost American relative, after half a century…

    I wrote the book for my son, but he insisted it went on The Web…

    Like

  78. ophiembahwek

    wow,,sounds great. But..writing in english eh? im an indonesian speaker smhow :(

    Like

  79. Sakib

    great challenge ;-). thanks

    Like

  80. mariannebaker

    I need to do this. I was just reading a biography on Doug Adams (my favorite author of all times) and found out that he was such a procrastinator, the only way he would finish a novel was when his publisher would have him locked in a hotel for weeks at a time with a supervisor. He would not be allowed to play his guitars, and would only be let out for brief periods to do jogging. I was just thinking, wouldn’t it be great if I could get one of my friends to lock me in a hotel until I finish my novel… (and foot the bill too– wouldn’t that be nice!!!).

    This is a great idea, and I’m totally going to do it. But maybe in another blog… a private one. ;)

    Like

  81. Heather

    @mariannebaker: Yes! The word count for each post displays beneath the Save and Publish buttons to the right of the post editor.

    Like

  82. mariannebaker

    Oh… And is there a wordcount option on wordpress?

    Like

  83. Angelica

    Eight years ago I set out to write a book. Others have encouraged me to tell my story. I’ve let time, lack of confidence and not knowing where or how to start keep me from accomplishing my goal and dreams.

    This is a great challenge and a good time to start. Thanks for the challenge; I begin today.

    Like

  84. Arsito

    Never knew this before.. *thinking* Try? No? Later? Maybe? Mm…

    Like

  85. linny1

    I am going to try and do this. Today is the first day for me on blog, which I am trying to use . It seems as if 1st November is very significant for decision making, changes and chances for me. I have talked about writing for the last 6 months and have done nothing except to look a writers references – I need this. All of this is new to me but I am up for the challenge.

    Like

  86. Prithvi

    It looks like WordPress is just looking for more activity on its site rather than promoting writing skills… Why can’t some sort of a prize be offered, rather than free ‘Sa-tis-fac-tion’? Not necessarily money, may be a paid holiday or help to publish and promote? :)

    Like

  87. hoh

    National Novel Writing Month: You Can Do It?
    no.

    Like

  88. pennypincher

    hmmm, i will have to get my thinking cap on!!!!

    Like

  89. Assentia

    I’m doing it for the second year. I don’t think I’m going to use this blog to track my progress – I created it for the NaBloPoMo challenge, in fact (http://nablopomo.com) – but I’m doing it anyway. Last year I had a good idea but ran out of steam halfway. This year I have only the foggiest plot idea, so I should do fine! ;)

    Like

  90. jazz14456

    uh-oh i am slow typer

    Like

  91. sherey

    So cool to see NaNoWriMo front and center here at WordPress. You people rock! I’m in and happily just logged my first 2511 words. Go, WriMos, Go!

    Like

  92. Ina Infinity

    Awesome! Do you know if there’s a way to get wordpress to spew out the posts in chronological form… so we can basically start a blog for our NaNovel?

    Like

  93. laymanworld

    You are tossing a wonderful idea. All the best!

    Like

  94. kittiesrock

    Hmm, sounds fun… but I’m busy, maybe next year! Or the year after… or… after that…

    Like

  95. zyxo

    Perhaps I’ll do it. Start with in anyway. Keeping up till the end ? Don’t know.

    Like

  96. Fran

    it’s only in english?

    I think this is a good idea,
    may be for spanish speakers too…

    Like

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  100. shaekin

    I’m willing to try. We’ll see how this goes.

    Like

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