Do You Accept Our Challenge?

“So,” you might be saying, “I am dying to submit some novels to Shannon & Elm, but I just can’t find the time to write lately.”

Or you might be thinking to yourself, “Boy, October sure was fun, but November is coming up, and I want to do something memorable.”

Or maybe your little brother just told you he can write a better chapter in an hour than you can write in a week, and you want to prove him wrong.

Or maybe you are a nonstop writing fiend, and you just want a rockin’ awesome certificate to hang up on your wall.

News flash: You can do all these things and more with NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? And how in the world does one pronounce that word? (It is pronounced / næ no ‘raɪ moʊ /.)

Here, we’ll link you: http://nanowrimo.org/

This is not a shameless plug, since NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit dedicated to helping writers become more awesome (well, and also to the spirit of rollicking competition). This distinguished title stands for National Novel Writing Month, and, much as the title suggests, the goal is to write a novel (50,000 words or more) in exactly one month. This works out to a minimum of 1,667 words a day, which starts out as a fairly manageable concept, but quickly morphs into something requiring great mounds of dedication and willpower. Still, if that word count seems too easy for you, there are groups within NaNo that can take you a little further: the 100K group, or the 50K in 5 Days challenge (egads!).

You can keep track of your progress, challenge your friends, distract and enlighten yourself on the forums, get writing tips galore, find some plot ninjas, and meet many other writers in your region for activities and write-ins. Many regions host a kickoff writing session on Halloween at midnight, so you can start the month with your first sugar-fueled 1,667 words already on the page.

And NaNo is not over once you have your rockin’ awesome certificate of completion: December is revisions month, and you can also participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, 30 Covers 30 Days, and other events throughout the year that keep you writing and help you finish what you have written. The community support is huge.

And lest you think this article might be entirely un-S&E-related, there are numerous forums which could be of great help to you regardless of the genre or subgenre you happen to be writing: the Literary Fiction forum, the Historical Fiction forum, the Mainstream & Realistic Fiction forum, the Satire, Humor, and Parody forum, and — of course — the Other Genres forum.

We, your fearless editors, have a terrible confession to make: we have not yet won a NaNoWriMo certificate of completion. But we will be trying again this year, and will do so every year until we can wallpaper our office with the things. And then we’ll just keep on writing.

Challenge yourself. Believe in your writing.

As the NaNoWriMo tagline states, “The world needs your novel.”

What are you writing this November?

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