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NaNoWriMo LibGuide: NaNoWriMo Guide 2019

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Shannon Johnson
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What is NaNoWriMo?

Direct from

"National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.

Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel. You may know this mass creative explosion by the name National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo—but that's not all that NaNoWriMo is!

It's internet-famous. It's a community-powered fandom (before there was the Beyhive, or Nerdfighters, there were Wrimos). It's a start-up incubator for novels (books like Water for Elephants, Fangirl, and WOOL began as rough drafts in November!). It's a teaching tool, it's a curriculum, and its programs run year-round.

Whatever you thought NaNoWriMo was, it is more than that."

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That's great, but why does that matter to me?


Have you ever dreamt of writing a novel? Whether it is your first novel or the final book in a series, NaNoWriMo is the event for you!

50,000 words in a single month may seem impossible, but that couldn't be further from the truth!                           

In 2019:

• 455,080 writers participated in our programs, including 104,350 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.

• 966 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 669 regions on six continents.

• 968 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.

• 70,632 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

Each year, authors offer mentorship to our participants through pep talks. Past author mentors have included Gene Luen Yang, Roxane Gay, John Green, Andy Weir, N. K. Jemisin, and Veronica Roth.

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NaNoWriMo 2019: By The Numbers                  

Why should I use NaNoWrimo?

Feel free to use any resource that will help you reach your goal. If you prefer traditional paper and pencils, that is great. Perhaps you enjoy using tools like Scrivener; that's ok too!

Just remember the following, which comes from NaNoWriMo's homepage: "Writing a novel alone can be difficult, even for seasoned writers. NaNoWriMo helps you track your progress, set milestones, connect with other writers in a vast community, and participate in events that are designed to make sure you finish your novel. Oh, and best of all, it’s free!"

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But I don't know what to write!

​NaNoWriMo encourages writers to prepare properly for the month. 50,000 in November equates to 1,667 words each day of the month, but it will take more than just words to hit that goal. Found here on NaNoWriMo's website, NaNo Prep 101 is the semi-workshop that can be utilized to prepare for the actual event. This workshop can be taken self-paced or followed as weekly activities, starting in early September each year.  

Various topics are covered, such as:

Developing a Story Idea, Creating Complex Characters, Constructing a Detailed Plot or Outline, Building a Strong World, Organizing Your Life for Writing, and Finding and Managing Your Time.

A PDF of the Prep 101 workbook can be found here

I'm convinced, but how do I get started?

The first step to "Winning" NaNoWriMo - that is, finishing your novel- is to sign up for an account. After confirming your account, the next steps will be to set up your profile, select your region, add some writing buddies, and finally, announce your upcoming novel.

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But what if I'm writing alone?

You're never alone with NaNoWriMo!  

By utilizing available resources in your region, it is possible to meet up with other WriMos (NaNoWriMo participants) in your area. For NaNoWriMo 2020, it is highly suggested to hold write-ins virtually. Some resources available in the Fort Wayne area include a Discord Server for Fort Wayne participants, the Fort Wayne NaNoWriMo Forum, Fort Wayne Write-In Google Calendar, and a Slack Chat Server for Fort Wayne WriMos.

Write-Ins will be a valuable tool if you would like to meet other WriMos in your area. If we hold virtual write-ins for NaNoWriMo 2020, times and dates will be found on our calendar

Well, I wrote my Novel. What now?

Congratulations! You have won NaNoWriMo! This is a great accomplishment, and you deserve a break!   

Once you are ready to continue, the next step forward will be to start the editing and publishing processes. NaNoWriMo offers many partnerships with editing software and publishing companies. These offers can be found under "Writer's Resources" in your NaNoWriMo profile.