If you’ve been around on the internet for any amount of time as an author and read articles, forums, and other posts about writing and publishing then you’ve probably come across the term Nanowrimo. Just like any subculture, writers have their own vocabulary and this completely made up word might confuse the uninitiated.
Nanowrimo is a combination of words: National Novel Writing Month, which happens to be November. Nanowrimo is a challenge to write a full novel (or 50,000 words) between November 1 and midnight of November 30. The challenge has become something of a big deal and there are a variety of websites and methods participants may use to track and measure progress, encourage others, provide feedback, etc.
The word count is a measurement of a rough draft—not an edited manuscript. Writers are encouraged not to make edits or changes, but rather just get the novel written. Everything can be fixed in the edits, later.
Much like running a marathon or 5k, there is no prize. It’s a challenge more than a competition. Every person who makes it across the finish line is a winner. However, many of the websites that track participants have unique incentives and may offer prizes; some participants have gone on to have their novels picked up by literary agents or publishers.
Completing the nanowrimo challenge, which has been around since 1999, means you have written a book approximately 200 pages in length. Divided equally, it’s about 1,700 words per day or 3 single spaced 8×10 pages with normal font sizing.
The official website for the creative challenge is at http://nanowrimo.org.