National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts on Nov. 1. Over the course of the month Wrimos (anyone participating) work toward the goal of writing 50,000 words. While NaNoWriMo is often promoted as an opportunity to write a novel, the month also can be used to develop a daily writing practice, work on essay or research projects, or simply write more freely outside the confines of class assignments and grades. Here are some resources to support your writing goals.
From the NaNoWriMo Organization
Official NaNoWriMo Sign Up: Sign up here to participate in NaNoWriMo– create an account, select your home region (USA– Illinois — Chicago), and fill out your profile.
NaNoWriMo Prep Workshop: A collection of writing tips and exercises NaNoWriMo has shared over the years.
NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program: Resources for writers under 18 years old and for K-12 educators who may want to utilize NaNoWriMo in their curriculum.
Pep Talks: Inspirational letters written by well-known authors during NaNoWriMo.
Write-Minded: a NaNoWriMo podcast with SheWrites: “Hosted by Brooke Warner of She Writes and NaNoWriMo’s executive director Grant Faulkner, each episode of Write-minded features a pep talk, a green-light moment, and a writing action. Brooke and Grant interview writers, authors, and publishing industry folks, and bring to this weekly podcast their shared spirit of community, collaboration, and a deeply held belief that everyone is a writer, and everyone’s story matters.”
Tools for Managing the Writing
There are many options for approaching the writing process during NaNoWriMo. In addition to the content you’ll be creating, the practical process of getting words on a page and keeping track of your writing throughout the month deserves some consideration. Below you’ll find tools that may be useful in this process
- Google Docs is a powerful (and free!) tool for doing your writing. The writer and blogger, Eva Deverell, has a comprehensive entry on using google docs that includes an instructional video and pdf checklist for support.
- Scrivener is a writing app that provides tools for outlines, notes, and research. The program allows you to write your project non-linearly and provides templates for different types of manuscripts. Start a free trial or buy at a discount through the NaNoWriMo site.
- The Writing Cooperative has a list of 30 free writing apps that could take your NaNoWriMo game to the next level.
- 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing from the New York Times
- Picture Prompts from the New York Times
- Poets and Writers The Time is Now weekly writing prompt series
- Story Starters from Creative Writing Now
- Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts
- On writing romance: how to craft a novel that sells / Leigh Michaels
- Writing fantasy and science fiction : how to create out-of-this-world novels and short stories / Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, Jay Lake and the editors of Writer’s Digest
- Creating convincing characters / Nicholas Corder
- The emotion thesaurus: a writer’s guide to character expression / Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
- The emotional wound thesaurus: a writer’s guide to psychological trauma / Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi
- The positive trait thesaurus: a writer’s guide to character attributes / Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi
- The rural setting thesaurus: a writer’s guide to personal and natural place / Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi
- The urban setting thesaurus: a writer’s guide to city spaces / Angela Ackerman, Becca Puglisi
- Plot and structure: techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish / by James Scott Bell
- Beyond The First Draft : The Art Of Fiction / John Casey
- Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction And A Rewarding Writing Life
- Now Write : Fiction Writing Exercises From Today’s Best Writers And Teachers / Edited By Sherry Ellis
- The Art Of Fiction: Notes On Craft For Young Writers / John Gardner
- Write Away : One Writer’s Approach To The Novel / Elizabeth George
- Writing Great Fiction : Storytelling Tips And Techniques. Season 1 (Streaming Video)
- Dear Mister Essay Writer Guy : Advice And Confessions On Writing, Love, And Cannibals / Dinty W. Moore
- Good Prose: The Art Of Nonfiction / Tracy Kidder And Richard Todd
- The Truth Of The Matte : Art And Craft In Creative Nonfiction / Dinty W. Moore
- The Writer’s Practice : Building Confidence In Your Nonfiction Writing / John Warner
- Writing Creative Nonfiction : Instruction And Insights From Teachers Of The Associated Writing Programs / [Edited By] Carolyn Forché And Philip Gerard
Creative Writing Advice And Resources
- Advice To The Writer : The Writer’s Guide To Plot, Revision, And Autobiography / Stephen Koch
- Bird By Bird : Some Instructions On Writing And Life / Anne Lamott
- Creativity Rules! : A Writer’s Workbook / John Vorhaus
- Imaginative Writing : The Elements Of Craft / Janet Burroway
- Naming The World : And Other Exercises For The Creative Writer / Edited By Bret Anthony
- On Writing / Charles Bukowski
- On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft / By Stephen King
- Steering The Craft: A Twenty-First Century Guide To Sailing The Sea Of Story / Ursula K. Le Guin
- The Making Of A Story: A Norton Guide To Creative Writing / Alice Laplante
- The Way Of The Writer: Reflections On The Art And Craft Of Storytelling / Charles Johnson
- Writer To Writer : From Think To Ink / Gail Carson Levine
- Writing Tools : 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer / Roy Peter Clark
Professor, Intensive English Language Program and coordinator, Global Education and Diversity, Moraine Valley Community College
“I feel our ESL population is uniquely suited to infuse global perspectives into the project in a way that enriches the learning environment for all students.”
Co-Director of the Speaking and Writing Center
Associate professor, Communications, Moraine Valley Community College
“Many of us want to write things! The hard part is finishing things. NaNoWriMo pushes writers to prioritize their passion, just for a month, with the result being a finished draft.”