What is NaNoWriMo, exactly?

You may know the 50,000 words in 30 days bit from their website, but what they didn’t tell you was that there are a whack of other people in the Vancouver area doing it as well that you can meet during our writing and social events during November. NaNoWriMo is also a month-long time of meeting other people interested in writing, a time for making new friends and connections. Friends that may give you bits of inspiration, motivation to meet your beastly writing goal, and a sympathetic ear to complain about how horribly the days are treating you. You may also find people interested in the same things you are, aside from writing.

In a nutshell, NaNoWriMo is an entire month (and a bit) of pure, unbridled writing.

50,000 words is a lot. How can I even do that in 30 days?

It boils down to 1,667 words per day, 70 words per hour, or one word about every 51 seconds. You can get them in however you like, via computer, typewriter, pen and paper, quill and ink, stone and chisel, or even smoke signals. Though, we suggest you avoid the last two because there is less chance of injury, and managing what you’ve written so far is easier.

Honestly though, it’s not that much if you plug away at it every day. You will have bad days where it seems like reaching 100 words is impossible by midnight. You will have busy days where your novel will be neglected. You will also have amazing days where your fingers won’t be able to keep up with the unfolding story your fevered imagination is weaving even as you attempt to contain it with words. It is all part of the NaNoWriMo adventure.

Every mountain seems impossible to climb if you’re not used to climbing mountains, but it becomes possible once you start and can be made easier if you have friends with you that have done it before. Watch the NaNoWriMo forums for tips and come out to events to find support. It is your journey, but we can help you along the way. 50,000 words is entirely within your reach if you want it to be.

Why does the NaNoWriMo site want me to upload my story when I’m done?

It’s just a formality of “winning.” No one except a computer will read your story, and it’s only counting your words to see if it actually has 50,000 of them. Once the computer is done counting them, it will fling the uploaded story into the digital shredder and will not be saved.

If you’re still worried about someone stealing your brilliant story, you are allowed to copy-and-paste an equivalent number of words from your favourite text generator (such as lipsum.com) or Wikipedia and submit those.

Validating your win is completely optional. If you do, however, you will be able to download a swanky Winner’s Certificate and some web buttons for your site. In past years, winners have also been given discounts for places such as Lulu and CreateSpace on ‘proofs’ of their bound novels.

Why are some of these people I’m meeting so serious about writing?

Some Wrimos are serious about being published and making money off their writing. Some of them may even be professional writers. If you’re here for the fun and games, don’t let them intimidate you. NaNoWriMo is great for busting out a first draft, and even some published authors still like having the unreasonable deadline. Some also enjoy the social events and support of other writers. If getting published isn’t your thing, no one says you have to hang out with these guys if they’re making you feel uncomfortable.

Why don’t some of these people take writing seriously?

Some people join NaNoWriMo for the sheer, unadulterated hell of it. They aren’t after the fame, the fortune or the prestige of being published. If you find their free-wheeling attitute towards writing bugs you, there is no rule that says you must hold lengthy conversations with them. If you go to an event that draws a crowd with different outlook on NaNoWriMo, you don’t have to continue attending if they start to bother you. You can try to find another event to attend that has people who share your ambition.

How do I know which events to attend?

All of them!
Kidding. You’re the only one who can decide this. We suggest getting out to at least one event during November, just to see if you want to go again. The Municipal Liasons try to organize events all around the region, but because the region is very large and they have non-NaNoWriMo related committments they can’t cover all neighbourhoods and communities all the time.

We strongly suggest coming to the Kickoff if you can possibly make it. It’s a great opportunity to meet the MLs and other people from the area.

Why isn’t there a write-in (or other event) in my area?

There could be a couple reasons. Because the MLs are a limited resource, they try to hold events near public transit. If there isn’t a SkyTrain or bus stop near you, this may be a reason. Official events also tend to be held near known groups of participants. If you are the only Wrimo in your area, you may have to do a bit of travelling to attend the ML-hosted events.

If there isn’t an event in your area, and you think there should be, you are more than welcome to set one up! Post on the Regional forum with your event’s information: location (including address), time, date, and where you will be within the venue. Also include useful info such as availability of Internet access, power outlets, snacks and caffeine. Though WiFi isn’t required for writing, some people still like to be able to check e-mail or do bits of research and fact-checking while they write.