Dream of Writing a Novel? November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Tomorrow is November 1, which means, for some people, the start of the holiday season. But for others it marks another special time of the year: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month is a virtual creative writing project that happens every November. The goal of participating is to write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days — if you were to write an equal amount every day, it would be 1,667 words per day.

Why 50,000 words?

The organizers decided that 50,000 is a decent length for a novel, while still being achievable even if you don’t write full-time.

Why would you do that?

It’s a lot of words and a lot of work, but for people who have always dreamed of writing a novel (some surveys say that up to 81% of Americans think they have a book in them), this is a great way to get started. The hardest part of accomplishing a huge goal like writing a novel is to start. There are also some other reasons that NaNoWriMo is so popular:

  1. You participate with other people–either wholly virtually or by participating in face-to-face meetups which makes the process more fun
  2. You have a strict time deadline which can help you focus on just writing instead of on procrastinating
  3. If you sign up on the website and finish the contest, you get a certificate. There are also additional writing and participation badges—gamification elements that drive engagement, increasing your chances of completing the project.
  4. Even if you don’t get to 50,000 words, you still win. You just wrote X number of words in November, which is likely more than you would have written if you didn’t participate in the event.

Learn to Write by Writing

Learn by doing—if you really want to learn how to write, you just have to write. So if writing a novel (or just writing in general) is anywhere on your bucket list, consider participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s free to sign up!

Have another large goal you want to accomplish? Learn about setting learning goals here.

Additional writing resources:


The Elements of Style (Strunk & White)

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (Stephen King) 


Scribble: Writing for New Writers

Writing What You Know (The Open University) 

Skillshare: The Creative Writer’s Toolkit 

Creative Writing (The Open University) 

NaNoWriMo: Write a Novel in November