4 NaNoWriMo Rules and 7 Resources to Help You Win

4 NaNoWriMo Rules and 7 Resources to Help You Win

In book-writing circles, November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. If you haven’t heard of this annual event, or you’re ready to join the challenge for the first time, this will be a great primer. Here is a brief overview of NaNoWriMo rules and resources to help you win.

How do you win NaNoWriMo?

“Winning” NaNoWriMo is both simple and hard. If you can write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30 then you win! However, actually getting to that word count will take some discipline and strategy. Most people break this big number into a smaller, daily word count of 1,667 to make it feel more achievable. For many, this number is still overwhelming, which is one reason NaNoWriMo is such an exciting challenge. Simple, but not easy.

Winners receive digital banners and certificates to use on their website or social media and T-shirts are also available for purchase. Sponsors provide other winner goodies, including discounts to writing software and publishing services. The catch? In order to win, you need to register your project on the NaNoWriMo website and log your word count between November 1 and November 30.

Digital badges and Scrivener discounts aside, the real prize is writing 50,000 words and having a first draft completed in 30 days.

What are the NaNoWriMo rules?

While the goal is writing 50,000 words in the month of November, how you get there is flexible. Here is a breakdown of the NaNoWriMo rules to help you stay on track.

  • On November 1, the challenge begins as the clock strikes midnight, local time
  • On November 30, the challenge ends at precisely 11:59:59 p.m. local time
  • For the official challenge, no, you cannot start early or end late. However, you can plan ahead, take notes, create character sketches, etc. before November 1
  • In order to win, your novel must reach minimum 50,000 new and/or rewritten words by the end of the challenge—but your novel doesn’t have to be complete

That said, “rebelling” is allowed and encouraged, since this is a self-challenge. If your project isn’t a perfect fit and you still want to participate, then do it.

Additional resources to help you prepare for NaNoWriMo from The Write Life

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a challenge between writing friends and has since grown into a global marathon event attracting hundreds of thousands of participants each year. To date, there are nearly 800,000 active novelists and more than 350,000 completed novels as a result of this annual tradition.


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