National Novel Writing Month is back!

Novel fever takes the world by storm.
Symptoms include flashes of brilliance, questionable plotlines, and blatant use of mixed metaphors.

Berkeley, California (Oct 10, 2011) - At midnight on November 1, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 250,000 people around the world will set out to become novelists.
Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them.
So what’s the point? “The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and
unleashing creativity,” says NaNoWriMo Founder and Executive Director (and 12-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.”
More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries will hold write-ins, hosting writers in coffee
shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer
pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience. That sense of community even extends beyond the page—so much so that several dozen marriages and at least six babies have resulted from NaNoWriMo over the years.
In a few years, those babies will surely take part in NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program, a version of the event geared toward kids and teens. These budding authors also benefit from a community of their peers, as well as the free resources (including lesson plans, workbooks, and a snazzy classroom kit) used by thousands of educators worldwide.
Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90
novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, both #1 New York Times Best Sellers.
“Writing a novel in a month inspires incredible confidence in seasoned and first-time novelists alike,” says
NaNoWriMo Program Director Lindsey Grant. “Completing a draft of the novel they’ve been contemplating for ages gives participants a tremendous sense of accomplishment and leaves them wondering what else they’re capable of.”
For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit or contact
The Office of Letters and Light is a California-based international non-profit organization. Its programs are the largest literary events in the world. Learn more at


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.
How NaNoWriMo got from there to hereIt’s a funny story, actually.
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
2008: 119,301participants and 21,683 winners
2009: 167,150 participants and 32,178 winners
2010: 200,500 participants and 37, 500 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 K-12 schools who participated in 2008: 600
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2009: 1,295
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2010: 1,800
Number of NaNoWriMo manuscripts that have been sold to publishing houses: Many (details below)
Number of words officially logged during the 2004 event: 428,164,975
Number of words officially logged during the 2005 event: 714,227,354
Number of words officially logged during the 2006 event: 982,564,701
Number of words officially logged during the 2007 event: 1,187,931,929
Number of words officially logged during the 2008 event: 1,643,343,993
Number of words officially logged during the 2009 event: 2,427,190,537
Number of words officially logged during the 2010 event: 2,872,682,109


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