A writer's notebook sits open on a table.

National Novel Writing Month

| Burlington County Library

The challenge is simple: write 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Founded in 1999 by freelance author Chris Baty and a group of his friends, the idea quickly took off. In 2000, they changed the month to November and by 2005, the group had gained nonprofit status. Now each year, hundreds of thousands of people participate in the race to finish their novels.

There are a few perks to participating in NaNoWriMo. While writing can be a solitary act, during the month of November you will have access to a vast community of support. The forums are very active and people are more than happy to cheer you on to the finish line. There is also something fulfilling about completing 50,000 words in such a short time. And 50,000 words is the rough draft for a published novel, making the difficulty of starting the novel writing process easier. Even if your goal isn’t to get published anytime soon, it’s a great way to practice your writing skills. While you might not notice any improvements, just the practice of sitting down to write every day will pay dividends in the future in regards to your skill level.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of NaNoWriMo:
  1. Create a rough outline before Nov. 1 so you can hit the ground running.
  2. Set aside some time each day for writing. Keeping a consistent schedule will keep the momentum going. Some writers aim for a set number of words per day to keep up with the word count.
  3. Try to find a designated place that will be your writing spot, whether that’s your bed, the desk, or even your local library branch.
  4. If you feel stuck, try reading a few books in the genre that you’re writing. It could help inspire you in your own writing.
  5. And remember, keep on writing!
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