If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, you'd probably assume it has something to do with... robots, maybe? But it totally doesn't! Allow cupcakemichi to explain.—Sparkitors
Hi guys and girls! It's October! That means candy, costumes, trick-or-treating, and scaring giving candy to little kids, but also preparing for NaNoWriMo!
National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo or NaNo) is a literary challenge of epic proportions. The goal is to write an entire fictional novel (50,000 words) in the month of November. This is the main challenge. However, for younger Sparklers, there is also YWP—the Young Writers Program—where people 17 and under can choose their own goal.
"BUT, CUPCAKE, 50,000 WORDS? You're insane!"
Well, maybe, but the insanity is the fun part! While writing your novel, you will come up with many crazy (amazing) ideas for your book that you thought would never come out of your head. I had a character in my novel last year who somehow ended up sounding exactly like Trelawney. It wasn't on purpose! I promise! And no, she wasn’t a rip-off, nor did she have actual predictions. (She got edited out. I never actually liked Trelawney anyway.)
If you accept this challenge, you will write approximately 40,000 words of horse doo-doo; 30,000 of which will be salvageable, and 10,000 of which will need a complete overhaul. Your other 10,000 words will be pure gold. They might be deeply, deeply, deeply hidden, but they will be there.
So WHY put yourself through this miserable and yet epically awesome challenge? Because you get a novel out of it! And possibly some extra credit (check with your English teacher)! Oh, and a shmexy winners certificate.
Lots of things will come in handy while writing a novel, such as copious amounts of sugar and caffeine. And maybe some writing utensils. A computer, perhaps. But you can handwrite your novel, too—there’s even a special clause in the rules for handwriters.
Participating last year was extremely fun. I found myself spending a lot of time on the forums, especially in what is now called the Reference Desk. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “you learn something new every day,” because for every hour I spend on there, I learn at least 5 new things. There’s also a Teens forum, Students forum (NaNo University), an All-Ages Lounge, a Newbies Lounge, and a bunch of others. All of them are fun, and there’s always help, support, and laughs when you need them. Even at crazy hours of the night, like when you're pulling an all-nighter because you failed to schedule your time efficiently sleeping responsibly.
“BUT CUPCAKE, I have finals/midterms/lots of work/lots of other stuff to do! How am I going to manage to write an entire novel in a month?”
Well... get writing! That’s the only way to finish. You’d be surprised at how much time you have when you eliminate all of that random Facebook-stalking and SparkNotes-procrastinating (Sparkastinating?). You know you do it! I see you there! If you just spend half that time on writing—5 of those 10 minutes—you can easily meet your 1667-words-a-day quota.
This crazy endeavor is entirely possible (millions have done it), so here is my challenge to you, Sparklers, Manklers, and Sparkitors: write 50,000 words with me this month. Let’s write a novel together!
Looking forward to NaNoWriMo? If not, what's your Undoubtedly Good Excuse?
Related Post: Fiction Writing: How to Create a Main Character
If you'd prefer to write less than a novel but more than absolutely nothing, writing for SparkLife is a good middle ground.