NaNoWriMo: a writer's marathon

Friday, November 9, 2018
by Taimoor Sajid Riar

Have you ever wanted to write a novel? If the answer is yes, this blog post is definitely for you. If the answer is no, like myself, then not to worry; you can still benefit from this information.

Writing a novel takes a lot of time and dedication, which can be a big deterrent for many people. However, National Novel Writing Month is a good opportunity to finally get that novel started or, if you don’t want to write a novel, improve your writing.

What is National Novel Writing Month?

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an event run by an organization of the same name. During the event, writers are challenged to write 50,000 words over the month of November.

The focus of the event is to get writers to put their writing on paper without being too particular of the quality. In addition, the event offers specific resources to help if you are struggling with writer’s block, motivation, and sustained writing.

NaNoWriMo also offers prizes for both participant and those who have successfully completed the challenge. Prizes include personal satisfaction, because participants have just written an insane number of words, and special offers or discounts from sponsors that can change every year the event occurs.

What are the rules?

Gif of Dwight from the office saying,


There is only one major rule: A 50,000-word novel must be written between November 1st and November 30th 11:59pm. Writing is only to be done between these dates; starting early and finishing 30 days after is not allowed. Planning and notes are okay with the exception of pre-written material that cannot go into the body of the novel. I should also mention that all of these rules are based on an honour system, which means that there is no strict anti-cheat rule in place.

In regards to a novel, what is defined as one is completely up to the participants. Writing such as fanfiction, metafiction, or even an original piece are all acceptable, but NaNoWriMo says it best:

If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel.

How will this help?

Gif of Kermit the frog typing very quickly on a typewriter.


Simply put, you will be writing a lot. The obvious benefit of this is those who are interested in writing a novel will be able to make progress on it. NaNoWriMo incentivizes you through prizes, and it offers a goal to motivate you to sit down and start typing away on a story that you want to immortalize on paper.

The other benefit, the one that I think is most useful, is that it will allow you to become a better writer in general. You will find yourself going back to read over passages, making edits, and brainstorming new ideas, which are all a part of the writing process. Being more familiar with the writing process means better writing, and the easiest way to do that is through practice. On top of that, participating will force you to write every day. This will help with sustained writing, which is a skill needed for any long writing project, and improving it will make those end-of-term projects much easier to tackle.

How do I get started?

Gif of man eating a sandwich while saying


Getting started is easy. First, you have to sign up on the NaNoWriMo website by making an account. After signing up, you have to create a title for your novel and choose your region. Once that is done, you are ready to write!

I myself have made an account so that I can participate during the next NaNoWriMo. I hope you have also been inspired to write, as there are many benefits to taking part in the event.