Website Review: National Novel Writing Month


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Website Review:

National Novel Writing Month


J.A. Marlow


Copyright © 2013, J.A. Marlow, All Rights Reserved

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, or NaNo, is almost here! Huh, you ask? Is it really that time of year again?

Oh yeah.

Many writers have heard about the writing challenge "National Novel Writing Month" that occurs every year in the month of November. But, how many have really explored the website? For those who haven't, you may be surprised at how much it offers.

For those who don't know about NaNoWriMo, this is a month where writers of all skill levels from across all genres, and located all over the world come together for 30 days of madcap writing. As is stated on the About page, the goal is to write 50,000 words in November. Sounds like a lot? Actually, its not. 50,000 words in 30 days averages out to 1667 words per day.

The home of this event is at, where participants can sign up and update their writing progress. For a fun read about the history of this challenge, read this page. It's a funny tale about the amazing progress of a challenge in 1999 among a few friends that blossomed into a world-wide phenomena.

The list of published books resulting from the NaNoWriMo challenge continues to grow each year. You can look here for a very short list. For those writers who now have a book written during the challenge published, remember to have it listed!

But, the site offers much more than this.

Main Forums

The obvious perk of the website are the forums. A place where we can commiserate with other writers, pick up inspiration, and connect with others who are doing the same thing at the same time as you. There are a lot of boards, with everything covered from writing issues, genre boards, help boards, plot ideas, word wars and prompts, to even a place for NaNo rebels.

A Nano Rebel? Oh yes. For those who are participating, but in their own special way.

In the off-season, there is a "December and Beyond!" forum, providing a place for those in the process of revising their Nano novel. Or for those who are having withdrawals from the November fun. The people here are more than happy to help with advice, references, and help for a variety of problems writers confront when whipping a first draft in shape.

Although, watch out! The forums can be a huge time-sink. Hard for it not to be, considering thousands sign in each year. That many people there at the same time make the forums a very active and hectic place in October and November.

Regional Forums

A part of the forums that some don't know so much about are the regional forums. This is a place where you can connect with local writers, where local calendar of events are tracked and organized by local volunteers known as Municipal Liaisons. You can find these regions in two places: Through your user dashboard under the "My NaNoWriMo" menu in the header with the "My Regions option, or through the "NaNo Near You" menu in the header. However you choose to get there, check out the events close to you. The Municipal Liaisons go through a lot of trouble to make the month of writing as much fun and as productive as possible!

Writing Buddies

Keep track of old friends and new with the Buddy system. Your buddies will appear on the "Writing Buddies" tab of your author profile. This will include quick stats on each of them, as well as a link to their profile. To add a buddy, just click the "Add as Buddy" link. To remove someone from your buddy list, either go back to their profile to click "Remove buddy" or use the "Writing Buddies" settings under your "My NaNoWriMo" menu.

NaNo University

This page provides resources for those participants currently in higher education. This includes flyers and other items to help you organize your own local writing group, along with a "NaNoU Guide to Life" PDF to help student participants and club leaders.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

The "Young Writers Program" is a version of NaNoWriMo designed for kids and teens 17 and under. In this program, participants set their own personal goals and have their own area of the site complete with forums and writing resources. The area also includes educator resources, for those who want to use NaNoWriMo as part of their curriculum. In the last few years, this has become quite popular in schools!

Special Offers

For those who win by reaching 50,000 words in November, various companies have partnered with National Novel Writing Month to provide special offers and perks. Each year the offers change, so be sure to check back for each season!

Pep Talks

Each year, the organizers of NaNoWriMo reach out and contact writers across all genres who provide regular pep talks during the event. On the page linked above, these pep talks are linked to, and available all year long. Need a little bit of a boost, even if it's not November? Click here, read, and get inspired again.

All of this and more from a non-profit writing challenge. National Novel Writing Month is a fun and productive writing challenge that continues to give all year long. There's a reason its popularity has grown every single year.

Come on by this November and join in the fun!