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Whoosah! Namaste. NaNoWriMo?


The word ‘NaNoWriMo’ sounds like a Mantra. In fact, it has all the magical powers woven into it. When writers hear the word NaNoWriMo, they know it is the month of November, they know they have to pull their act together and publish a novel. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a writing contest held in the month of November every year both online and in-paper. The contest rule states that writers should write a novel with 50,000 words. They can start writing from 1st Nov but publish by 11:59:59 pm of 30th Nov. You may wonder how big 50,000 words novel is. To compare, the novels like The Great Gatsby, and Brave New World had roughly more than 40,000 words. Now you know what kind of effort you need to give for NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo was first started by a freelance writer Chris Baty in July 1999 with 21 participants. In the year 2000, it was moved to the month of November when 140 writers took part in the contest. From 2001 onwards, there was a steady progress in the number of writers participating in the contest. Currently the program registers more than 200,000 participants for the contest, writing a total of more than 2.8 billion words.

The slogan ‘No plot, No problem’ signifies ‘quantity over quality’. Though the winner will be the writer who approaches the designated length of 50,000 words, recognitions are accorded for those who fulfill the requirements. Digital publishing companies like ProLiFic Online encourage NaNoWriMo participants to submit their finished or work-in-progress manuscripts after November 31st.

The summer version of NaNoWriMo was launched in 2011 called Camp NaNoWriMo. The camp allows writers to join groups numbering up to 8, and engage in literary exchange.

While generally adults take part in this contest, a similar program was started by NaNoWriMo in the year 2005 for youngsters. It is called ‘Young Writers Program (YWP)’ which is open to all students in schools nationwide including homeschools. It differs from the regular program by not limiting the number of words to be written.

There is an interesting online tool available for writers called Storyist. You can use this tool to write your story, analyze and track how your story goes with outliner and storyboard. There are also some precepts which you need to know before engage in writing. There are communities available on the internet which actively discuss and support those who want to participate in the program. The communities provide advice, criticism, and information to the participants to choose the correct path.

If you are ready to write a novel, you need to check out the website for NaNoWriMo. It has plenty of information which you can use to write your novel. You don’t have to worry if you are writing for the first time. As it is often said, writing becomes perfect when you re-write. That’s what is writing craft is all about! Take the plunge – you will be wondering where all these cascade of words come from. You need to break open the walls of your mind. You will be wandering through the space where only you and your imaginary characters will be conversing. You always wanted to write a script for a movie, didn’t you? You even thought that you would do this during one of these summer vacations. So many summer vacations gone by… The story is still fresh in your mind! Now all you need to do is to unleash your thoughts. This is the time you have been waiting for! Seize the opportunity and pen it down… Write it when you commute to your office in the train… Write it during those boring meetings (don’t let your boss see that!)… Some people get writing thoughts when they take shower! Keep your pen or water-proof tablet handy. Never drain your thoughts without finding a medium. You will be thankful to yourself for having done this. You can even surprise your neighbors/friends/spouse/parents and put on that wisdom-hat after you publish the novel.

Shekar Krishnan
Shekar Krishnan works as project management professional for a multi-national company in New Jersey. His pastime includes writing, reading, watching movies and travel.

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