If you’re new to the writing scene, or conversely you aren’t a writer and are simply here to find out what this weird thing actually is — NaNoWriMo is a writers event held every November, and it stands for National Novel Writing Month.
That’s it. That’s all. Nothing cultish, or crazy, or anything like that. Unless you want it to be — you do you.
It was started simply as an impetus for writers to get off their collective asses and write, but it’s also a competition… of sorts. Writers across the globe work their butts off to hit a minimum 50,000 words of a novel, and, in some cases, even complete a novel in its entirety. What can you win? Well, a completed novel, of course (so… it’s not really a competition, although some have turned it into one).
Through nanowrimo.org, writers can find resources, assistance, and connect with other writers for words of encouragement and all that kind of business. It’s useful for many, but others have criticised it as the reason there are so many lower-quality novels available on Amazon… but that’s a different story.
My issue with NaNoWriMo is with its very monicker, and it comes down to the fact that, when something like this happens, it often happens out of the US, and Americans tend to be kind of… Well, insular, in a way. So although this is most definitely an International event, it still goes by the National name, with National originally referring to the US. Let’s not forget the Internet is a wide-open environment, people (although, to be fair, when this event started back in 1999, the Internet wasn’t quite as ubiquitous as it is now).
That said (and it is very nit-picky, I know), NaNoWriMo is a better name than InterNoWriMo or whatever the alternative might be. Embrace it within your nation. It’s Australia’s National Novel Writing Month to me.
Am I doing NaNoWriMo?
To be honest, no, but it’s not because I don’t see value in it.
NaNoWriMo (which is a pain in the ass to type, let me tell you) provides great value for a lot of people, but it doesn’t suit my life. With a full-time job and young kids, I’m pretty darned busy, and I don’t need something like this to feel like a failure, knowing I just won’t be able to commit.
But for many, this will really help — and keep in mind that the real goal here is simply to get people writing… to help get you in the habit of writing every day. The more you write, the faster your work will be completed, and the more books you can put out.
So for me, I’m using it as inspiration to write more often – if I can hit my personal goal of adding 30,000 words to my current works during this month, then great! But if I can’t, it’s still going to help me write more than I would have otherwise, and that’s a bonus. I’ve already added a couple of chapters to my sci-fi work-in-progress, so it’s helping.
However, before I go, I will say this — if you do write a novel during NaNoWriMo, I salute you! But don’t just go and publish it on Amazon KDP as a trophy book, or a symbol of your achievement. It’s a great achievement, yes, but it still needs polishing. It still needs editing. It still needs feedback from beta readers. It still needs all of these things in order to make it an even better book. And yes, it still needs a great cover, too.
Don’t feed the “I hate indie writers” trolls. Use NaNoWriMo to write your book. But do the right thing by it and release the best book you can (and yes, some of these things cost money, but there are low-cost options available).