It all started with...
1. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel between November 1st and November 30th. Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. This kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
NaNoWriMo was started in 1999 by Chris Baty, with 21 participants that first year. 2011 is the challenge’s 13th year, and in 2010 there were 200,500 participants. The popularity of NaNoWriMo has spawned other challenges in other genres. Several of them are listed below.
2. WNFIN (Write Nonfiction in November)
Write Nonfiction in November challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. You can write a book, e-book, booklet, book proposal, or even a series of articles or essays, as long as you finish them in 30 days. At the Write Nonfiction in November blog there will be daily guest posts, every day in November, by nonfiction authors and publishing professionals such as literary agents Michael Larsen, Katherine Sands, and Jeff Herman; book marketer John Kremer; publicist Joan Stewart; and many more…
3. November PAD (Poem a Day) Poetry Chapbook Challenge
The November PAD (Poem a Day) Poetry Chapbook Challenge is all about the fun of poeming! During the month of November you’ll write a poem a day. Don't worry about revising or finished drafts, just get the rough drafts cranked out each day. Then, beginning December 1st, you’ll revise and organize your November poems into a manuscript of 10-20 pages. By midnight December 31, 2011, you’ll e-mail your manuscript to Robert Lee Brewer, the originator of this challenge and the editor of the 2010 and 2011 editions of the “Poet’s Market” book series, published by Writer’s Digest Books. The winner will be announced on Groundhog’s Day, February 2, 2012.
4. PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)
Picture Book Idea Month is a 30-day challenge for picture book writers. The concept is to create 30 picture book ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript. You don’t need potential best-seller ideas. You might just think of a clever title, or a name for a character, or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your picture-book-idea-generating senses so that by the end of the month you’ll have a file of ideas to help inspire you throughout the year.
Writers who complete the 30-ideas-in-30-days challenge will be eligible for prizes, including feedback from a literary agent, sketches by picture book illustrators, critiques from published authors, and signed picture books.
5. NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)
National Blog Posting Month started out as a November alternative to NaNoWriMo, but over the years has morphed into a monthly writing challenge and support system. The challenge consists of writing a blog post every day for a month (yes, that includes weekends). If you want to get into the habit of daily blogging, join NaBloPoMo and get the moral support, inspiration, and camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide.
Although this challenge is now ongoing throughout the year, prizes are awarded to those who participate and complete the challenge in the month of November.
For help keeping up with whatever writing challenge you're paritcipating in, you might find these articles helpful:
- NaNoWriMo is Actually Four Goals In One
Or if you'd like some personal help with your writing, you can check out my coaching page.