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How to NaNoWriMo


Have you ever looked at a book on our shelves and thought “I could write that?” Have you ever started writing and given up after a few pages? Congratulations, you’re like most writers!

Writing a book is hard, but possible, as proven by the countless books published daily. But how do you get from page one to The End without giving up? That’s where NaNoWriMo comes in.

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers are challenged to pen 50,000 words (equivalent to a short novel) in the short 30 days. It averages to about 1,667 words a day.  (For reference, this post has been 110 words so far.)  Is it hard? Definitely. Possible? Absolutely.

The point of NaNoWriMo is to write with abandon—without fear of being bad. When you’re asked to write so many words in a day, you don’t have time to stop and edit; you don’t have time to think what you’re writing is bad. You just have to push forward and keep going. Stuck on a scene? Jump ahead and keep writing. Decide to change your location? Great! Change it and keep going from there. You don’t have time to go back and change it in the full manuscript.

And that’s the secret—the words don’t have to be good. The book doesn’t have to be perfect. The final story doesn’t have to make sense, even. You just need to finish your story. Because here’s the best part—once you win, you win. You’ve done it. You’ve written a complete novel. You’ve accomplished your goal! From there, you have all the time in the world to go back and edit it. No timeline, no rush. In December, January, February and so on, you can turn it into the book you want it to be. But in November? You just have to write.

So if you’ve ever considered writing a novel, this a great chance for you to try. Visit one of our Write-Ins happening at several branches in November for comradery, keep yourself accountable by signing up online, and get the words on the paper (or computer). You don’t have to be good—you just have to try. You can do it, you really can!

Don’t believe me? In 2013 I “won” NaNoWriMo. My story was not great—in fact, there were more plot holes than actual plot. But it was complete, and a skeleton I was able to mold into something better. And in 2015 it was published with HarperCollins. If I could to do it, so can you.

Challenge yourself. Make it a personal goal. Write.


You can learn more about Lauren's writing and her books by visiting her website

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