Saturday 1 November marked the start of the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWri Mo) where participants attempt to push out a 50,000 word novel in a month. If you’re not familiar with the initiative, it’s not about quality, it’s about quantity – where people enlist to take risks, push boundaries and imprint discipline through their writing. It’s the literary equivalent of a country pie-eating contest and sometimes, equally gruesome and glorious.
Last year, more than 100,000 people took part. Of that, 15,000 people submitted their 50,000 word manuscript on deadline and entered “the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever” according to the organisation. “They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”
If you choose to take part in the initiative, you sign up the website, make regular logs of your word count, and get writing. Some people plan beforehand which appeals to me, but a lot of Wrimos (as they’re affectionately called) dive in without hesitation. It’s similar to a bootcamp attempt of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way – where tapping into the realms of imagination and intuition take initial precedent over fine forms and craft.
A writing colleague of mine refuses to partake in NaNoWriMo. “It’s a joining activity,” she explains, bending her fingers to indicate the quotation sign. “I don’t want to partake in camaraderie.” She prefers to forge her own writing path, but as for me, I’m vaguely tempted. I like camaraderie when it comes to writing. And, it’s only 3 November. I could still catch up.
“NaNoWriMo is all about the magical power of deadlines,” says the site. “Give someone a goal and a goal-minded community and miracles are bound to happen… novels will be written.”

The Australian Writer’s Marketplace is Australia and New Zealand’s only guide to the writing industry. While providing submission and contact details for the print media and publishing industry.

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