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#NaNoWriMo: The Largest Writing Contest in the World Turns 10!

NaNoWriMo 2008


"NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH:THE LARGEST WRITING CONTEST IN THE WORLD TURNS 10!

There are some who say writing a novel takes awesome talent, strong language skills, academic training, and years of dedication. Not true. All it really takes is a deadline – a very, very tight deadline – and a whole lot of coffee.

Welcome to National Novel Writing Month: a nonprofit literary crusade that encourages aspiring novelists all over the world to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. At midnight on Nov. 1, more than 100,000 writers from over 80 countries – poised over laptops and pads of paper, fingers itching and minds racing with plots and characters – will begin a furious adventure in fiction. By 11:59 PM on Nov. 30, tens of thousands of them will be novelists.

2008 is the ten-year anniversary of NaNoWriMo, founded in 1999 by freelance writer Chris Baty. In its first year, NaNoWriMo had just 21 participants. In 2007, over 100,000 people took part in the free challenge, making it the largest writing contest in the world. And while the event stresses fun and creative exploration over publication, 24 NaNoWriMo novelists have had their NaNo-novels published, including Sarah Gruen, whose New York Times #1 Best Seller, Water for Elephants began as a NaNoWriMo novel.

Around 18% of NaNoWriMo participants "win" every year by writing 50,000 words and validating their novels on the organization's website before midnight on Nov 30. Winners receive no prizes, and no one at NaNoWriMo ever reads the manuscripts submitted.

So if not for fame or fortune, why do people do it?

"The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creative potential like nothing else," says NaNoWriMo Director (and nine-time NaNoWriMo winner) Chris Baty. "When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it's a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month."

If you would like more information about National Novel Writing Month, or would like to talk to participants from NaNoWriMo chapters in your area, please visit our website at www.NaNoWriMo.org,or contact press@nanowrimo.org

Stats

Founded by: Freelance writer Chris Baty and 20 other overcaffeinated yahoos in 1999.
Now run by: The Office of Letters and Light, an august 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Oakland.

Annual participant/winner totals
1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5000 participants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners
2006: 79,813 participants and 12,948 winners
2007: 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners

Number of official NaNoWriMo chapters around the world: Over 500
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2005: Over 100
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2006: Over 300
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2007: 366
Number of NaNoWriMo manuscripts that have been sold to publishing houses: Many (details below)

Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2004 event: 428,164,975
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2005 event: 714,227,354
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2006 event: 982,564,701
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2007 event: 1,187,931,929"

http://www.nanowrimo.org for more information.

2 comments:

  1. You're providing a great service for writers of every ilk. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the great info! Too Shy to Stop just featured a discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham as inspiration for NaNoWriMo. You can read the article here.

    ReplyDelete

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