It was launched in 2001 and is still running strong today with 310,095 participants in 2013 officially logging 3,520,123,164 total words together. The challenge is free to join and there are (virtual) regional lounges all over the world with fourteen in Australia alone.
There is no prize, other than 50,000 words in your novel (well, hopefully!) and a nice certificate that proclaims you as a winner. Over the years different businesses have offered discounts to winners, such as CreateSpace offering a few free prints of your books, and writing software such as Scrivener offering 50% off the price. More information can be found in the ‘Special Offers‘ page.
NaNoWriMo exists for those who’ve said that someday they’ll write a novel – well, November is your someday! Let’s face it, no time of the year is perfect for writing. Most of us have full time study or work, family and friend commitments and then (usually, I don’t) a social life! NaNo gives you the excuse to submit to insanity for a month and try to write a novel as well anyway.
My first year of NaNoWriMo, I was graduating high school. Here in Australia, that’s when we have our exams. I passed high school and manage to complete NaNo anyway, but with certain sacrifices such as getting up a bit earlier in the morning, writing for a few hours on the weekend instead of relaxing, and writing while eating dinner once or twice too.
In other years I have been in Fiji while a friend gets married as part of the wedding party, and working overtime at work for massive conference or too. NaNoWriMo is possibly for anyone, no matter what they have in their life, simply depending on their priorities. I highly recommend it. I’ve done NaNo each year since 2004 and I haven’t looked back. I ran the Elsewhere Australia region (from 2005 until 2012) and it has brought me friendships and inspiration that I wouldn’t have otherwise gained.
NaNoWriMo. Come join the crazy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!