NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing month, is an annual writing project that occurs during the month of November. If this is your first time participating in or hearing about NaNoWriMo, here are the answers to the top 11 questions every newbie NaNoWriMo creative is asking:
1. What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) is a siren call – or creative writing endeavor, whatever phrase suits you best – that lures both professionals and amateurs out of their procrastinating dens and encourages them to complete a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. The first NaNoWriMo took place in 1999 with 21 writers. Now over 350,000 people participate in the annual challenge. The NaNoWriMo website has a wealth of info about the event if you want a deep dive into the program’s rules and history.
2. What is the NaNoWriMo word count per day?
To hit the 50,000-word count goal, you’ll need to write at least 1667 words every day from November 1 until the November 30, 11:59pm deadline. Obviously, you can write more on some days and less on others; however, 1667 is the minimum average daily word count.
3. How many days are in November?
This is actually an important piece of info to know. There are only thirty days in November. If you’re saving your last few words for November 31st you’ll be sorely disappointed. To help you remember how many days each month has, here’s a helpful rhyme:
Thirty days have September, April, June and November; all the rest have thirty-one (and some clever ending about February only having 28 days except during a leap year).
4. Do I get a medal, or cash, or some sort of prize for participating in NaNoWriMo?
No, no, and yes. Prizes are awarded and winners are chosen each year for NaNoWriMo. You have the opportunity to earn participation and writing badges, award yourself personal achievement badges, and validate your word count to join the NaNoWriMo winner’s circle. There’s no limit to how many people can win and there are sponsored prizes for participants and winners every year.
5. What’s the average word count and page length of a novel?
The answer to this question varies. However, we took a look at all the responses and came up with the best averages:
- A novel is anything over 40,000 words
(Important to note: The 80,000 to 110,000-word count range seems to be the sweet spot for a lot of publishers)
- A novella is 20,000 to 40,000 words
- A novelette is 7,500 to 20,000 words
- And a short story is under 7,500 words
- The average page length for a novel is between 250 and 275 pages
6. Do I have to wait until November to start my novel?
You can sign up for NaNoWriMo year-round, define your novel (e.g. title and synopsis) and begin outlining or constructing the architecture of your work of fiction as early as October. However, the writing of your novel itself shouldn’t occur before November 1.
7. Are there helpful NaNoWriMo worksheets or novel writing guides?
Whyzze has a great resource – our free downloadable e-guide, ‘How to Write a Best-Seller Worthy Novel in 30 Days’ – that you can use to help craft a quality novel. It’s the outline a lot of bestselling authors use to ensure they have strong characters, a central plot and enough detail to support an entire work of fiction.
8. What do I do with my novel after NaNoWriMo?
Ah, the “Now What?” months. The rush of completing a 50,000 word first draft is over – now what? After NaNoWriMo winds down, some writers simply pat themselves on the back for a job well done and await the next season of writing fever. Though, there are a lot of writers that take this time to revise their manuscripts in hopes of getting it traditionally or self-published.
9. How do I overcome writer’s block?
Generally, we hear about writer’s block occurring because of fear, or distractions, or the pressure of perfectionism. And while these may all be true, we’ve found that writer’s block generally occurs because of a lack of “directive structure”.
If you think about writing like a road trip, then you know it’s easier to get from point A to B with some sort of direction. And like a road trip, the more specific the directions you have beforehand, the easier it is to arrive at your ultimate destination. While some people hate outlines or structuring their writing beforehand, some sort of directive structure can be helpful for overcoming those seemingly dead-end writer’s block hurdles. Again, we suggest downloading our e-guide for the easy-to-navigate process a lot of best-selling authors use.
10. Has any writer successfully published their NaNoWriMo novel?
11. What if I have other questions about NaNoWriMo or writing a novel in general?
You’re in the right place. whyzze is here to answer your nagging, confusing or challenging creative questions. All you have to do is sign up for a weekly, monthly or quarterly recurring membership and you can get creative advice anytime you need it. Our seasoned group of Creative Advyzzors have experience with traditional publishing/publishers, self-publishing, the writing process, literary agents, book marketing tips and tons of other helpful resources. Sign up today and see how easy it is to get creative advice whenever you need it.