NanoWriMo challenges writers of various levels

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If the number 11,669. (or so) means anything to you today, you might be participating in National Novel Writing Month.

What began as a challenge among friends in San Francisco is now an international phenomenon. The idea is polarizing- – writing a novel in a month either fills a person with dread or enthusiasm. Still, millions of people every November put fingers to keyboards and go all out on their literary masterpieces. More importantly, participants have the opportunity to raise money to make creative writing more accessible to young writers without access to creative writing classes or material.

How to participate in NanoWriMo

The good news is it is free to participate in NanoWriMo. Other positive attributes of the month of writing is that the project an individual chooses need not be approved by anyone. There is an online word counter to verify winners, but it does not judge those words.

Speaking of winners, it is important to note that writers are only competing with their own reluctance. Technically, though to win, a writer must have written a work that is 50,000 words long. Which means that writers must produce at least 1,667 words per day (minimum) to reach at least 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

While there are a community of other writers doing NanoWriMo online, in most cities, it is possible to meet other writers at weekly write-in gatherings, or at the kick-off and Thank Goodness It’s Over party at the end.

A simple Google search can get a writer in touch with the Municipal Liaison in his or her region. The Municipal Liaison, or ML, is the person responsible for organizing events for writers in a region. A region, it should be noted, could be a city, or a few small cities or towns, the areas included will be identified online.

Why participate in NanoWriMo?

If a person is serious about writing, NanoWriMo might be the appropriate way to finish a draft. It is also a great way to meet new people who also have a passion for writing. Writing can be a lonely art. Getting out and interacting with others can be helpful.

It is not too late to get started. But, a person can always take a year to prepare for next November. There are other months of writin during which NanoWriMo provides writing communities and activities. See http://www.nanowrimo.org for more information.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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