What is NaNoWriMo and Why Should You Care?

It’s 3 days until the 2014 NaNoWriMo kicks off, the challenge that sees hundreds of thousands of people complete a 50,000 word novel in a mere 30 days. National Novel Writing Month is hardly national, rather a global community that helps to inspire, encourage and push each budding author to sit down and write, rather than succumb to excuses.

A not-for-profit organisation, NaNoWriMo’s mission statement is as follows:

National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

Last year there was an amazing 310,095 participants worldwide.

While it’s focus is to encourage writers to chase their dreams, the program has led to some amazing works being published over the years. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was published in 2013 and chosen for Tumblr’s first book-club, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was published in 2011 and spent 7 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was published in 2006 and went on to become a successful movie staring Reese Witherspoon. A full, impressive list of published works can be found here.

A smaller group has emerged out of NaNoWriMo’s success with a focus on people who like to write, but are not interested in novels. NaBloPoMo run by BlogHer encourages bloggers to make a post every single day for the month of November – no matter what.

Both groups post daily prompts, hints and help and connect you with people nearby also participating in the challenge.

This year, I for the first time and going to take part in both NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo with the hopes of exploring new areas creatively, learning more every day and meeting new, inspiring and like minded people.

Participant-2014-Twitter-Profile

So why is this important?

In many countries, including Australia, funding for the Arts and writing programs have been drastically slashed in recent months. For many young authors who’ve dreamed of publishing something have seen their hopes fizzle in front of them as certain Politicians do not see the need for encouraging cultural growth and universities begin revising courses.

NaNoWriMo attempts to counter this thought by exclaiming your words matter. It encourages people from all walks of life, all backgrounds, all social classes to express yourself. Everyone has a story to tell, and NaNoWriMo is a chance you can take to get the words on the page.

In a world on the brink of WWIII, and the Western “Us vs. Them” mentality, it is important to break through the confines society seemingly places on us. The world is never straight black and white like politicians might believe it is. It is a complicated world, and we all have our own struggles, dreams, anxieties and inhibitions. Through writing and creating we connect with one another. We discover ourselves.

“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

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