AAh, November. The burnt orange autumnal leaves giving way to frosty mornings* and the early onset of Christmas decorations. But, for writers, November represents something far far more important: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a not-for-profit organisation whose aim is to promote writing and support writers in getting their novels developed and hopefully finished. The whole thing started in 1999 and the genius bit is that they focus on the month of November as the timeframe for writers to get their greater than 50k word novels complete. And do you know what, it works. There’s somethings about committing to a deadline that motivates us poor humans to stop prevaricating and get cracking with our writing. Last year, they had 402,142 participants around the world all writing. Wow.

It’s also produced some amazing books. You may have read Wool by Hugh Howey, or The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, (both great books by the way) but not known that they were actually both written as part of NaNoWriMo.

At Burning Chair, we are huge fans of the programme and not just the motivation it offers by focusing on producing a novel in a month. It also has fantastic resources that are available online through the NaNoWriMo site and also opportunities to join up with fellow writers in a geographic area.

Now, there are tons of articles out there offering advice on how to write your novel, so we’re not going to just try and replicate that (that’s not how we roll at BC!), so here is our slightly tongue in cheek guidance on how to complete your novel for NaNoWriMo:

  1. Kill your ego by accepting it’s going to be rubbish and just get on with it (after all, the only thing that can’t be edited is a blank page…);
  2. The internet is your enemy (it hates you, it hates your book and every second you spend on it on ‘research’ is time stolen from your book);
  3. Your brain is a high-performance machine (don’t forget to feed it, give it fresh air and let it sleep);
  4. Abandon your family and pets and move into a cheap motel for the month (hey, it worked for Douglas Copeland).

For more poorly thought-through advice, see our blogs on:

Writing Your First Novel – Our Seven Top Tips

Writer’s Block? Here’s how to beat it…

And finally, a request from us here at Burning Chair. Both Pete and Simon have enrolled in NaNoWriMo and we want your help to keep them honest. Not only do we want to hear how all of you who are participating in NaNoWriMo are getting on, but also it would be great if you could keep the pressure on our two founders. In any communication with them, your first question should be: how’s NaNoWriMo going?

We’ll provide updates via this blog throughout November, and if you’re in NaNoWriMo then stop reading this blog and get back to writing – good luck!


* with apologies to readers based in the southern hemisphere

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