NaNoWriMo Kicks Off Today, Are You Inspired?

Kim LaCapria

For years, the internet has been battening down the hatches and getting its novel written during NaNoWriMo.

If you've always wondered what NaNoWriMo means, it's pretty straightforward. The term is a portmanteau of sorts for the phrase National Novel Writing Month, and it does just what it says on the tin. The objective of the exercise is to sit down for the month of November and finally bang out 50,000 words of that novel you've been planning on writing for so long.

What's cool about the NaNoWriMo of today is that when it kicked off in July of 1999, there were a scant 21 participants, all paying through the nose to talk about it with AOL's then-exorbitant rates. By last year's event, there were 200,000 NaNoWriMo participants, churning out an astonishing 2.8 billion words. Kind of like a Couch to 5K for aspiring writers, the exercise has helped many get past that difficult first step of just starting.

The other super cool thing about NaNoWriMo of 2011 is how different it is from just two or three years ago. As someone who has transitioned fully from book-books to e-books, I've noticed that some of the popular writers in the genre I favor (cough cough Paranormal Romance cough) are the fanfic writers of just a few years ago.

The market has changed significantly, and now instead of writing a novel for NaNoWriMo in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, an agent will pick your work up and represent you, you can actually publish your own book to all the major platforms via Amazon's Self-Publishing tool and Smashwords and do your own promotion. While indie authors faced a rough road of actually printing their own novels back in the day, now it's the work of a few days to edit and publish your own novel online, making the possibility of writing and selling a work very real and even achievable.

Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo 2011? Have you had success in previous years? (Don't forget to sign up at NaNoWriMo if you're planning on participating!)