NaNoWriMo offers a creative challenge for authors

By Beth Schumacher

November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.

Each year, writers are challenged to write an entire fiction novel in one month. For 30 days, writers put their blood, sweat, tears and time into a rushed masterpiece, creating an end product that would take some writers years to produce.

Their objective is to hit 50,000 words by midnight Nov. 30. Some notable works with a comparable word count: Nicolas Spark’s The Notebook and Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The monthlong journey may seem intimidating, especially to first time writers, but it’s worth it.

Writers who complete the project can upload the their finished novel to for official verification and, in addition to being added to the Winner’s Page, will receive a certificate and web badge.

Think it can’t be done? Well, Katie Bailey, NIU alumna and fourth-time NaNoWriMo participant, surely thinks differently.

“NaNoWriMo sets a time frame and a goal, and with that challenge before me, it pushes me to actually focus on my work rather than brush it to the wayside or procrastinate,” Bailey said. “NaNoWriMo is simply a reason to set aside time out of the day to nurture this side when the world so frequently tells us that other things should come first.”

The encouragement for writers to write, write, write without secondguessing themselves or giving up during this month is an experience that more up-and-coming writers should partake in.

There are rules writers must follow through, however humorous they may sound. In addition to the length requirement, the novel must be from scratch, and the writer must be the sole author. No cheating! The writer must upload his or her novel for word-count validation to the NaNoWriMo website. The last rule is obviously directed at a previous stunt: The writer must “write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.”

Although it’s a little late to join in on the NaNoWriMo fun, you can always check out its website to view previous published novelists, donate and learn all about the event.