What is NaNoWriMo?

From the NaNoWriMo site:

“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”

How and when can I sign up? Is there an entry fee?

You can sign-up year-round! To sign up for the upcoming National Novel Writing Month, just click on the “Start Here!” box at the top of the site, and fill out the User Registration form.

Kapow! You’re officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month.

There’s no sign-up fee for National Novel Writing Month, but we do ask ably-financed participants to contribute something towards hosting and administrative costs. Because we’re a nonprofit, the donation is tax-deductible! The amount you contribute is up to you.

What is a write-in?

A write-in is a meet up of local writers to…well, write. Whether it’s for camaraderie, writing assistance, competition, ideas, or just to escape the distractions of home, write-in sessions are the backbone of NaNoWriMo for many writers. Check out what events are coming up soon by clicking on the Events Calendar link at the top of the page for a write-in session near you!

I want to host a write-in session! What do I need to do?

First and foremost, you’re awesome! It’s difficult to cover every area of the city with just a handful of Municipal Liaisons (coordinators). If you want to host a writing session in your neck of the woods, secure a location first. Whether it’s a local coffee house or your own house – whatever you feel comfortable with will ultimately be the best option. After that decision, you need to decide on a date and time. If you want to host it every week of NaNoWriMo, that’s okay too. If it will be a write-in at a public place, it’s usually best to mention it to the staff so they can expect you when you and a few other writers show up and plant yourselves down for hours at a time. Next, you should visit the Resources link at the top of the page and download/print a table tent to take with you so people can find you out and about when you do end up at the writing location. Finally, post a request in the NaNo::Chicago regional forum and one of the Municipal Liaisons will post it to the events calendar for you to garner attendance. (You should also feel free to post a thread on the regional forum asking who wants to attend!)

What is a word war?

Whether on an individual or group basis, many writers need an impetus to propel themselves forward and to maintain momentum. Word wars are one of the ways we accomplish that. They are friendly competitions among writers to garner the most words in a certain period of time. We engage in mini word wars at write-in sessions and also in a region-wide word war each NaNoWriMo. For more information on region-wide word wars, please visit our word war page.

I’d like to write an article on NaNoWriMo. Can I interview any of your members?

Absolutely! We’ve put together a press release with useful information about getting in touch with participants and other journalistic FAQs. After you’ve read it, please get in touch and let us know what we can do to help you with your article.

How can I help?

We’re always looking for helpful members to donate giveaway items, space, or money towards ChiWriMo events. If you’d like to provide space or donation items to ChiWriMo for events, please contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

I have a question not listed here.

If the answers above don’t answer your questions, click on the Contact Us link at the top of the page and drop us a line!