Monday, October 10, 2011
The month of November revolves around writing, and, like the holiday celebrated during the same month, Thanksgiving, that's something for which to be grateful. However, not only should we be thankful, we should make November the official National Writing Month.
First, November was named National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) by Chris Baty, who began in 1999 with 21 San Francisco Bay Area friends writing a novel in 30 days. The following year, 140 people participated, and it's grown exponentially each year since. Today, over 100,000 people take up Baty's vision each year in November.
Then came PicoWriMo. Its origins are sketchy, seeming to come from a random post in a blog calling for a less ambitious undertaking for writers—a minimum of one word every day for a month. By the end of 30 days, the writer has a free-verse poem or a very short story.
In 2007, I started Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN), a challenge to all those not wanting to write fiction or poetry at all to start and complete a nonfiction project in 30 days. Not a contest but rather a challenge, I required no exact word count, just a completed project of some sort – an article, a book, an ebook, a book proposal, a query letter, an essay, etc. Unlike NaNoWriMo, WNFIN revolves around a daily blog
written by myself and guest bloggers. The first year, I offered a "brain dump" of much of what I knew about nonfiction writing, editing and publishing. In subsequent years I asked guest bloggers to add their expertise to the 30-day-long blog
. There remains no counter to check how many words participants are writing – nor will there ever be one. This remains a personal challenge simply to start and finish a work of nonfiction.
With so much writing going on in November, in 2009 I unofficially declared November "National Writing Month" by publishing a post to that affect in my www.RedRoom.com blog. I'm reiterating that declaration now.
It doesn't matter what we writers write – fiction or nonfiction. It only matters that so many writers all write during a focused period of time. Someone should honor that fact. November should be National Writing Month. So, I again declare it as such—and I hope someone out there is listening and taking note.
How many writers write nonfiction during November each year is anyone's guess. NaNoWriMo has a forum section that has a NaNo Rebel area including a nonfiction contingent that writes nonfiction. People read the WNFIN blog both at its www.writenonfictioninnovember.com location and on www.RedRoom.com, where all posts are published as well; I also provide links to all the posts on my other blog, Write Nonfiction NOW!
all month long. I don't ask anyone to log in or sign up. Some writers involved in PicoWrimo, a challenge that takes place on www.livejournal.com, also write nonfiction.
What I do know is that November gets writers writing. That's the point. Initially, NaNoWriMo got fiction writers writing. I wanted to get nonfiction writers writing as well, and I've done that with WNFIN. Now that National Novel Writing Month, PicoWriMo and Write Nonfiction in November have been established, it just seems to make sense that we should declare November National Writing Month and let the writing go on officially. About the Author
Nina Amir, Your Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, inspires writers to create the results they desire—published products and careers as writers and authors. She the author of the forthcoming book, How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time
(Writer's Digest Books – April 2012), as well as a freelance editor, and writing, book, blogging, and author coach who blogs at Write Nonfiction NOW
and How to Blog a Book
and writes the National Jewish Issues and the National Self-Improvement columns for www.examiner.com. She is also the founder of Write Nonfiction in November, a challenge and blog
and the weekly writing and publishing expert on Michael Ray Dresser's popular radio show Dresser After Dark
. Find out more about her at ninaamir.com
Los Gatos, CA