The Challenge of National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, started Nov. 1. The challenge? To write 50,000 words of original fiction over the course of November.

I accepted the challenge, and although my writing time is limited to an hour chunk here or there, my goal is to write 50,000 words this month.

It seems like a lot, but I like to break down what I write. One of my University of Minnesota Professors, Ron Faber, explained to us, his students, that he broke down his dissertation writing process into five, manageable, pages a day.

When I wrote my first book, and my dissertation, I did the same.

Breaking down the work into manageable chunks daily, rather than viewing the entire thing as a monstrous task, makes the work go faster. My daily writing goal is 1,500 words, which is roughly five to six double-spaced pages.

If I complete 1,500 words a day on the same project throughout the month of November? Well, I’ll have completed that 50,000 word goal.

But do I have the projects?


I’m cheating a little with the 50,000 word goal, as all of those words are supposed to be put to the same project. I actually have three projects I hope to complete this month, only one of which is the original fiction piece that may or may not ever see the light of day.

Of the other two, one is the preliminary work and secondary research for the community building and media project I plan to complete in England in the spring. The other is more exploratory essay on the impact of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her work on popular culture over time, something I hope to develop into an abstract for submission to the LauraPalooza conference next summer. That deadline for submission is Dec. 5, Rose Wilder Lane’s birthday.

So while I might not have 50,000 words on the same project completed by Dec. 1, I will certainly have 50,000 words written by then.

It’s good to have goals.

NaNoWriMo also has challenges in April and July, all designed to help writers develop their craft in supportive environments. I suggest, if you want to develop your work and you think an online writing group might help you, check out their website: NaNoWriMo.

(Psst — I’m already 10,000 words in on the fiction project. Woot!)

3 thoughts on “The Challenge of National Novel Writing Month

  1. I haven’t heard of NanoWriMo until last year.
    I have not heard of Preptober, or April Camp until mid October of this year.
    Maybe I’ll do those next year?
    But I am attempting NaNo this time around.
    Well done of having 10k words already.
    Btw, 1,500 words a day, times 30 days is 45k, not 50… Sorry to burst your bubble.


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