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November is here that means it’s NaNoWriMo! Are you ready to write the world’s next great novel?


Read on to learn what NaNoWriMo is, discover tips on overcoming writer’s block, and more!

Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo (Nah-no ree-mo) is National Novel Writing Month. It takes place from November 1-30. The challenge: write the first 50,000 words of a novel. That’s approximately 1667 words a day.

Why would someone subject themselves to NaNoWriMo? While writing 50,000 words may seem overwhelming, the point of the challenge is encourage writers to swear off perfection and just start writing. Instead of perfection, WriMos (that is, NaNoWriMo participants) are encouraged to make progress.

Here are the rules to the competition, directly from the NaNoWriMo rules forum:

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30. Traditionally, this had to be on a new novel; now, [you can] continue existing works.
  • Only count words written during November. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.

Or, you can chose to ignore those rules and become a “NaNo Rebel.”


Need help with your novel?

Receive one-on-one writing support from an YpsiWrites volunteer! You’ll be matched with a trained volunteer based on mutual interests. When you’re ready for feedback on your work, simply reach out to get feedback via email or Zoom.

The History of NaNoWriMo

According to, NaNoWriMo started out in 1999 as the same challenge it is today: in 30 days, write 50,000 words that will turn into a novel. The community-powered event turns every-day people, regardless of their background in writing, into novelists in only 1 month.

Popular Books from NaNoWriMo

Here are just 5 of the many books that were written during NaNoWriMo:

  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Jackpot by Nic Stone
  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Tips for Succeeding During NaNoWriMo

Here are some tips for winning NaNoWriMo from Writer’s Digest:

  • Get in extra words at the beginning of the month. Although 50,000 words a month averages to 1,667 words a day, life happens, and you probably won’t write every day. By writing more towards the beginning of the month, you can rest assured that even when life gets in the way, you’ll still reach your 50,000 words.
  • Have an outline. Knowing what you’re going to write about and what the end goal of the story is can make it easier to write. You’ll spend less time on ideas and world-building, and more time writing your story.
  • Or, just jump right in. Take an idea and run with it, just to see where it goes.
  • End your writing sessions before the ideas run out. Then, write yourself a note about what happens next in the story. This way, you’ll have ideas to work off of the next time you write.
  • Be fearless!
Overcoming Writer’s Block

Here are some tips for overcoming writer’s block, courtesy of The Storytelling Nonprofit:

  • Write about the problem. Talking about the problem can help get your creativity flowing and  organize your thoughts, allowing you to move forward with your writing.
  • Do something physical. Going for a walk or unloading the dishes can help reset your brain, so when you come back to writing, you’re ready to go.
  • Listen to music or ambient noise.
  • Remove as many distractions as you can from your writing environment.
  • Change your scenery or writing medium.