Some of you may be wondering: what is NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, a 30-day experience that writers can partake in to challenge themselves. The challenge? Writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, you read that right. 50k. The event began in 1999, founded on whim by Chris Baty, and became a 501(c)(3) in 2005. Programs now included in NaNoWriMo are November’s National Novel Writing Month, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writer’s Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.

Outside of the major freak-out that is writing 50,000 words in 30 days, the most wonderful part of NaNoWriMo is that everyone believes that stories matter. Last year’s stats prove as much:

Not to mention that over 250 novels written as part of NaNoWriMo have been traditionally published. Water for Elephants, The Night Circus, Fangirl, or Cinder ring a bell? This year, two of our staff members are jumping into National Novel Writing Month with extreme passion.

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STAFF WRITER ADRIENNE ON WHAT NANOWRIMO MEANS FOR HER AND HOW SHE IS GETTING THROUGH IT:

Writing has always been the only outlet where I knew how to express myself, specifically my feelings. I would write everything down in order to see it in a tangible form; to remind myself that what I have experienced or what I am feeling is real.

In time, writing became a passion of mine. One of my many dreams is to write something that would resonate with people. To leave words behind that are able to express a thought or feeling that was ineffable, that’s why I decided to challenge myself with NaNoWriMo.

We are constantly yearning to achieve great things, yet it is always easier said than done. This challenge forces me to sit my ass down and pour my heart as well as soul into a 50,000 words novel by the end of November. Writing can be emotionally and mentally draining as it is, but writing 2,000 words a day is on a whole new level. It’s a marathon that requires endurance and dedication. I try not to psych myself out by saying things or bringing myself down if I’m behind. Instead, I try to look on the bright side, such as “Wow, you managed to hit 3,000 words today. That’s a new record.”

I set landmarks for myself. This is how marathon runners keep motivated, by setting a lamp post or anything specific as a landmark. Once you have reached your desired landmark, you focus on a new landmark. This allows you to keep charging.

It has only been a week, but I can already feel myself falling behind. This isn’t going to deter me because this is what I want to do. This is solely for me. My friends have joined me in this challenge and it has helped me a lot, knowing that there are people going through the same writer struggles. Watching BookTubers talking about their personal struggles helps a lot too. The trick is to keep running and running until you’re close to the finish line.

If I don’t achieve it this year, I’ll try again next year. What do I have to lose?

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EDITOR BRIDGETTE ON HER 6-YEAR PARTICIPATION AND TIPS SHE HAS FOR PARTICIPANTS:

Oh, I’m a mess. The target word count for today was, I believe, 11,667. I am about 10k behind. But this happens every year; I plan things out, I get distracted, life gets in the way, things happen. That’s just how it is. But I’m not giving up. Today was #DoubleUpDay where we had a fundraising goal of $75,000 and hourly prompts (gallery below), prizes, and sponsors to match. After donating, I got down to business… And yet, here I am writing an article instead of my novel.

Like Adrienne, I too have some important reasons for writing. One being that I wanted to be able to give myself a place to belong, like much of what I do. And so I jumped into my 6th year of NaNo with a log full of dares, adopted titles, and prompts. I’m what they call a Pantser this year – which means I did no planning whatsoever. In all honesty, I had forgotten about NaNo until it was a week away. I decided to be a little ~nerdy~ and write some Harry Potter fanfiction. Experiencing writer’s block and having so many zine responsibilities, this is becoming an amazing challenge and exercise.

Each year with NaNoWriMo I have learned something new, amazing, and helpful. This year I’m learning that sometimes the craziest prompts can lead to great things. For those who participate there are tons of chances to get in on writing sprints where a new prompt is given every hour – however the sprint is set up – and I’ve never been open to the prompts.

This year, they’re my best friends. And honestly, so is being active in the forums.

That’s another thing I didn’t do much of in the past. Last year I mostly trolled around the artisans forum so I could get a cover. This year I’ve opened my own artisan forum for soundtrack making, gave a pep talk, joined the chronic pain & illness group, and even made friends in the Wrimos of Color group! (Any Native Wrimos reading this? lol) The Long Beach region is even hosting write-ins that I plan on going to. My biggest tip would be encouraging anyone to join the official website and just going all out!

Are you on the official website or plan on joining? Let’s be writing buddies!

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November 8, 2015