NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month, is an annual, month long creative writing project started by Chris Baty on the internet back in July 1999 where aspiring novelists and angsty writers alike disappear from society until December 1st where they finally turn off their computers and let out a collective sigh of relief. In 1999, Baty offered San Francisco a challenge: Can you write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days? And while this may seem extreme, NaNoWriMo has expanded from its original 21 writers recruited by Baty, to include more than 200 000 aspiring novelists from all over the United States and Canada with more than 37 000 winners each year. The collective word count of 2007 was a mere 6 million and it has grown to more than 1 billion this year.
1,856,502,337 to be exact...and November’s not even over.
So don’t forget, Nanowrimo’s not over yet. There’s still time to jump on the novel wagon, sharpen your pencils and brains and just write whatever it is you want to write about. And after four weeks of stressing out about midterms and finals because you’re just a thousand words shy of being on target, or your friends are wondering why you’ve disappeared off the face of the earth and you come to class every morning with a permanent glazed expression because you’ve been staring at a computer screen for too long watching small lines of script cross the screen since you’ve been writing all night trying to stay on the 1,666 words per day goal...crossing that golden finishing line will feel better than winning an Olympic medal. Or at least it should.
But what do I get for finishing NaNoWriMo? Unfortunately, you don’t win money. Nanowrimo is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing their love for writing to classrooms across the continent through their Young Writer’s Program and the Office of Letters and Light (HQ to NaNoWriMo). So far, they’ve raised $493,822.54, but they’re hoping to raise at least 1 million by the end of the month. So, what do you get for all the stressing and caffeine induced jitters? Prestige (you just wrote 50000 words in a month. You rock), a crazy cool certificate that is awarded exclusively to NaNoWinners and various widgets, bookmarks and printable items featuring cartoon monkeys and palm trees. And there’s an added bonus to people willing to pay a mere 15 dollars to support the YWP: you can get a printed copy of your novel with the cover art of your choice from the Office of Letters and Light so you can show it off to your friends and say “that’s right. I’m a published author”.Note: this is not me! This is someone awesome who has actually managed to finish NaNoWriMo whereas I have not to this date!
NaNoWriMo: Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon!