Ready, set, write: Make way for National Novel Writing Month

As November approaches steadily, writers everywhere wait in anticipation for the 30-day writing competition, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where writers over the age of 13 are challenged to write a 50,000-word novel. No editing, no rereading, no fixing, just simply hashing out a rough draft.

Entering the competition is simple, and anyone is allowed to participate. Go to the official NaNoWriMo website, create an account, and announce the title of the novel you want to write. The best part is that the organization is a nonprofit, so it’s completely free.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Writing a novel isn’t a piece of cake. Many authors spend the whole month of October developing characters, settings, plot, and even writing some short scenes during an event called Preptober. By getting ready in advance, competitors reduce the chance of getting the dreaded writer’s block, which stops the author from writing because of a lack of ideas and inspiration. From there, all that’s left to do is wait for the competition to start on the first day November and then get to writing.

In case that 50,000 word goal is intimidating, for grades K-12, NaNoWriMo offers a Young Writers Program for anyone under the age of 17. The Young Writers Program allows an individually set word-count and calculates how many words have to be typed every day in order to reach the word-count by the end of the month. For many people, this is a really good option because it gives new writers an attainable goal.

Is it all worthwhile? For some, yes─for others, no. Participating in National Novel Writing Month takes time and hard work, but if you’ve ever thought about writing a novel I encourage you to go for it.

NaNoWriMo is solely and completely something a person does for themselves. It gives them an excuse to take an hour or two out of the day to focus on this project they’re doing just for them. In addition, NaNoWriMo strengthens a person’s abilities as a writer. Typing and writing every day for a whole month is bound to increase at least sentence structure, typing speed, and maybe even vocabulary.

If neither of those sound like good enough reasons, NaNoWriMo is worth it simply for the fact that by the end of the month they’ll have a completed rough draft for a novel. Sure, there will be spelling errors or a few scenes that need to be rewritten, but in the end they’ve written their own book.

For me, this will be the second year I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, but the first year I’ve actually gone for the 50,000 word count goal. My novel this year, The Seven Seas, takes place in a world of my own creation and focuses on a motley crew of pirate misfits. The story mainly centers on the captain of the ship, Maggie “Whitemane” Smythe, and her closest friends: Henry and Calypso Hook, Blacke Thatch, Jeb Doyle, Ulla Caesar, and Diana Jones. The novel tells about their journeys on the sea as well as their desire to live up to their legendary pirate parents. They face opposition from both the Royal Navy of Ironhelm and their rival pirate crew captained by Judas Hook.

The novel is action-packed with fight scenes both on shore and off, as well as romance, prejudices and old vendettas. With a mixture a fictional pirates and pirates straight from the history books, the story is filled with many interesting characters. In preparation, I spent my time researching both fictional and nonfictional pirates in order to get a clear picture of who I wanted my characters to be. During the majority of Preptober, I worked on characterization because of my many characters, as well as map building of fictional world.

It’s true NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone, but for anyone who has ever thought about writing a book, it’s definitely worth it to at least try. I promise the feeling of writing your own book will be worth it in the long run.

For more information about NaNoWriMo or if you’re interested in signing up, go to: