National Novel Writing Month: Young Writers Unite


     Writing a novel may seem like a scary thing to do, but every year, all writers are given the chance to accomplish this daunting task.

     While not as famous as Mental Health Awareness Month or National Coffee Day, November is the annual National Novel Writing Month. To celebrate this month, there’s an amazing program called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that helps writers to complete a novel that they start and ultimately finish all in the month of November.

     This is a competition, however, it’s only you against the clock as you set a word goal when you sign up and then have to complete it by the end of the month. The word goal is different depending on the program, so for the regular program, the minimum word count goal that can be set is 50,000 words. This comes out to be an average of 1,667 words per day. While this may seem intimidating, the length of a typical novel on shelves in bookstores today is 90,000 to 100,000 words.

     However, it seems unrealistic for a high school student to balance both school and novel writing to that extreme, so NaNoWriMo came out with a Young Writers Program in 2007 for ages 13-17.

In this program, the minimum word count goal that can be whatever the writer chooses so that it’s easier to accomplish. This program also includes different tips and tricks from different authors on novelling skills, workbooks for different age levels on developing a novel, and webcasts from the NaNoWriMo team that can help young writers to meet their word count goal and successfully write a good novel. There are even forums so that after a writer sets up their profile, they can “friend” other writers and share ideas. The novelling process seems much less intimidating when you’re doing it with people who are in the same boat as you, especially when you’re doing it in such a short period of time.

     Since this is a competition after all, the way to win is simple: on the last day of November, you paste your novel into their word counter and if you meet your goal, you win! This may seem easy to do since the word count goal is able to be changed up until the last week of November, but there’s a great sense of satisfaction that you get from meeting or exceeding your original goal.

     After you win, you can edit your novel and then get a certain number of free copies. However, many of the companies that sponsor the program allow for winners to submit their novel and try to get approved for publishing. This opportunity is valuable since most publishing companies won’t even look at works from new writers unless they have some serious connections in the publishing world.

     This year, NaNoWriMo is unveiling a new website for their Young Writers Program and sign up will start as soon as the new website goes public. Anyone can sign up anytime between the website launch and November 30th.

So, if you’ve ever had an interest in writing a novel or becoming a writer, take a look into the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program and take the challenge of writing your own novel!

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