Comic drawn by Natashia Tabattenon
For most of us, November is a month of rain, comforting food, and occasional holiday-related chaos. But for a select group of people around the world, November means something completely different. A test of stamina, and time-management. An event otherwise known as…National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. About 445,179 people participate each year, trying to write 50,000 words of an original novel in 30 days. In 2015, only 25% succeeded.
So, why do they do it? With grades and jobs and lives to balance, why attempt something so intense? For some, NaNoWriMo is the push that they need to start writing consistently. For others, the bragging rights make all the difference. For a tiny percentage of “wrimos”, the payoff is much more concrete. Authors such as Rainbow Rowell (Fangirl), Hugh Howey (Wool), Marissa Meyer (Cinder), and Sarah Gruen (Water for Elephants) all got their start during a single autumn month of intense scribbling.
Like anything else, NaNoWriMo isn’t without downsides. Some people argue that it mocks full-time writers, who write much more and get none of the enchantment that’s associated with NaNoWriMo participation. It’s also very difficult for some people to complete 50,000 words in a month, especially because everyone writes at a different speed.
Despite all of that, NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity for anyone that’s ever even thought about writing a novel to give it a try. With events scattered all over the year- not just in November- there’s no reason not to give it a try. Fantasy, non-fiction, autobiography…anything goes. So pick up a pencil, or dust off your grandfather’s typewriter, and start writing!