As a writer who has been on the internet during the month of november, you have heard of NaNoWriMo. The rules of this event are, that you got 30 days to write the first draft a 50.000 word novel. But NaNoWriMo isn’t the only month-long event for writers.
I have searched for alternatives and similar entries to a writers calendar. Whether you want to get inspired or look for the next challenge, read on to learn why I value these events so much.
A month of writing
All these events have one thing in common, they encourage you to write for a whole month. Writing every single day is not a must, but a special achievement. But why a month? Why this month? And what’s the goal?
Ever wanted to give writing a try but couldn’t get yourself to start? Writing a novel or a short story collection is indeed overwhelming, let alone beginning the life of a writer. But here is the thing; You can do everything for 30 days, just as in this TED Talk by Matt Cutts (2011). Give it a try for a month, just a month, you can do that. After that you are free to stop or proceed.
The best thing for those who already write is the building of a habit. To reach the events goals, you have to write every day. Or catch up on the next day. The word count is tight to really challenge you. And for everyone who knows a thing about habits; writing every day for 30 days will build enough momentum to keep going even after the event ends.
Most events evolve around a special writing project. A novel, a themed story collection and so on. This make it the perfect opportunity to tackle such a project that has been laying in your drawer for quite some time.
Taking part in one of those writing events comes with the possibility of entering a community. There are thousands of writers who tackle the same challenge at the same time. Partner up with them, hold each other accountable. Building a writing community has never been easier than in times of a writing event.
Most event pages have a forum attached and during normal times you can attend on in person meetings.
The nice thing is, that you can win a writing event by hitting the goal during the month, but there are no losers. You do not lose if you don’t make it to the finish line, because in the end, you wrote new words, started a new project, made friends and you prioritized something that is important to you.
This enters into the next point. Participating in a month-long writing event is the perfect possibility tp make writing a priority in you life. Just for one month. Make sure that friends and family are informed to neither disturb nor question your personal challenge.
There are tons of writing events out there. Some are hosted by a small writing community or a personal challenge that everybody is invited to. And there are even year-long challenges and several flavors of those below.
I choose to pick the most popular ones. Feel free to recommend others in the comments.
I found this post: “NaNoWriMo and Beyong: 9 Writing Challenges for Novelists, Poets and More” (The Write Life), that lists some writing challenges. And for those who are not limited to writing, take a look at the WikiWriMo list of timed artistic challenges.
And take the chance to participate into something new, maybe try poetry or novel writing – it’s just for a month, you can do that!
National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org) – this one is the original. In the month of november, the goal is to write 50.000 words of a novel. This breaks down to 1667 words a day. Depending on your writing speed, this will take you approximately 2-4 hours a day.
NaNoWriMo is linked to a large community. Within the platform, one can participate in write-ins, word sprints and writing related activities. Also the month of october (and the last part of september) are reserved to preptober – all in the name of preparing the novel project for november.
Although it is possible to track any writing goal that includes 50.000 words, a novel is the classic. And the platform is full of novel writing tips. And for those who manage to finish something, there are the “now what?” months in march and april, to revise that first draft.
National Poetry Writing Month (napowrimo.net) is a challenge, to write a poem a day, every day in april.
The site linked above does not claim to be official, but it is a meeting point for participants.
Short Story Month
The International Short Story Month (storyaday.org). By now you might have gotten the idea. Write a short story every day in the month of may. Although you decide what “every day” means to you. Five days a week or excluding sundays. This is the perfect opportunity to gather drafts for your short story collection.
Flash Fiction Month
Flash-Fic Month happens on Deviantart, every july. Join for daily challenges, prizes and a community, to write one piece of flash fiction on each of the 31 days of july.
Camp NaNo grew from NaNoWriMo and since a few years shares a website with it (nanowrimo.org). The camps happen in april and july. As a speciality, you can set your own writing goal and participate in themed or random cabins to find new writing buddies. If found back to writing when setting a low 1000 word goal for a camp NaNo – that’s all you got to do.
Have you participated in one of the events above? Are you planning to do so after learning, that they exist? I surely do.