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Writing Life: Are you ready for NaNoWriMo?

By Rosemary Twomey

November is upon us and for many, that means the wind-down of fall, possible Thanksgiving festivities, and the slow approach of winter. If you are a writer, it may also mean the commencing of NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.

Photo: Canva - three cartoon women ticking off a giant calendar
Photo: Canva

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that provides tools, structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds — on and off the page.

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 and has since grown in popularity. Every year, the organization invites writers, whether they’re seasoned authors or aspiring novelists, to write 50,000 words.

Often, what stands between a writer and a major long-form project is the motivation to sit at your laptop and draft. As we all know, writing can be a solitary and lonely activity. NaNoWriMo strives to create a community of writers all with a similar goal, to stay accountable and conquer their first draft!

Keep reading to learn about different tools developed by writers and NaNoWriMo to help you make a dent in your first draft this November.

1. Sign Up for NaNoWriMo’s Writing Tracker

If you decide to take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month, NaNoWriMo has got you covered with their progress tracking software. When you sign up for the organization, you gain access to a progress dashboard that gives you interesting insights into your writing habits.

Source: Graph showing how NaNoWriMo works, with word trackers and overall progress graphs
Photo: NaNoWriMo

You can easily view how many words you write on average in a day, set daily goals, and see how many days in a row you’ve been writing consistently.

If you have ever written a novel-length manuscript or even attempted to, you know the hours that you’ve spent at your desk are most important. No matter if the words come easily or not, it is a major time commitment. Seeing your stats and setting short-term goals can help motivate you to keep going.

2. Join the Community

NaNoWriMo has been a successful motivator for writers for a number of reasons, but none more notable than its ability to bring the community together. They host both virtual and in-person events to connect writers taking on the 50,000-word goal.

The organization wrote that last year 791 local guides in 671 regions on six continents held in-person events for writers. Over 1000 bookstores, libraries, and community centres held writing time working hours through the organization's “Come Write In” program.

On social media, you can also engage with the greater NaNoWriMo community through hashtags and virtual events.

Cartoon writer leaning against a laptop.
Photo: Canva

3. Be Held to a Goal

Numerous authors have successfully completed NaNoWriMo, some having New York Times Best Selling books come out of the process.

According to the organization, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder have all been products of NaNoWriMo.

Holding yourself to a deadline is one of the hardest parts of writing creatively. With this organization, independent creators can join a large team of authors all working towards the same goals.

4. Gamifying Your Writing Process

Everything is more fun if it is gamified, plain and simple. So why not gamify your novel writing endeavour?

With NaNoWriMo’s tracker and active community, you can treat every chapter like a level waiting to be conquered with the final reward being the satisfaction of having a flushed-out first draft.

Good luck with your writing endeavors and have a great November!


About the Writer:

Rosemary Twomey is a writer based out of Montreal, Canada. She fell in love with character writing and development during her time studying professional writing at the University of Toronto. She can often be found reading with a cup of tea in front of a sunny window.

You can find her on Instagram: @rosemary.twomey.writes


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