National Novel Writing… What?

Thousands of people are writing novels every November, and thanks to NaNoWriMo, anyone can join them.



The official logo of NaNoWriMo.

Allister McLeod, Editor of Student Opinion

Books are something that are read all over the world. They inspire people’s imaginations, provide a relaxing, or intense, break from the everyday world, and sometimes even serve as homework. The stories books tell can range from heroic adventures to dramatic relationships, and everything in between. These stories often inspire readers to want to make their own, but not many people know where to start. Luckily, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, helps new and experienced writers share the process of writing a novel, and the stories that come out of it.

While people participate in NaNoWriMo all over the world today, it started off small, with only 20 participants. According to the NaNoWriMo Wiki, the program was founded by Chris Baty in July of 1999 as a small competition between a group of friends. Baty set a goal of writing 50,000 thousand words over the course of the month, or about 1667 words every day. After the month was over, only six people had reached this goal, but word about the program had spread. The next year, the program moved to the colder month of November, and the number of participants increased sevenfold. The number of participants only continued to grow from there, with 5,000 writers in 2002, and a massive 59,000 writers in 2005. NaNoWriMo became what it is today in 2006, when Baty decided to make NaNoWriMo a non-profit organization in the hopes of expanding its reach and providing more resources for its participants. With this, the program began to host real world meet-ups for writers, accept donations and volunteers, and sponsor forums. It also created the official NaNoWriMo website. According to this website, NaNoWriMo had over 455,000 writers participate in 2019, and spanned across six of the seven continents. Since its beginning, the core challenge of NaNoWriMo has stayed the same, with people aiming for 50,000 words in just a month.

NaNoWriMo gives new and experienced writers the opportunity to write as a community, share stories and ideas, and strive for the goal of 50,000 words in a month. People who want to know more can look to the NaNoWriMo website, or ask one of the thousands of people participating in the challenge this year.