You may have heard of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. In fact, MakeUseOf has mentioned it before.
The challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel in just one month, with no real reward other than your own personal satisfaction of completing it. But whereas NaNoWriMo takes place in November, JulNoWriMo takes place in July.
If July happens to be a less busy month for you, JulNoWriMo is an alternative that you might want to consider. After all, attempting to write a whole novel in a month is a pretty big commitment.
Tens of thousands of people participate in NaNoWriMo, which might make JulNoWriMo seem a somewhat meager event by comparison. But the number of people setting out to write a novel in July is growing quickly. In 2008, less than two hundred people participated, but in 2009, the number of participants nearly tripled to well over five hundred. Why not join in on the action this year?
All you have to do to sign up is head over to the JulNoWriMo forums and register a username. Then you might want to start planning your novel, because July’s going to hit sooner than you know it.
Tips and Resources
One of the advantages that JulNoWriMo has over NaNoWriMo is that July has one more day in it than November. That means you have just a little bit more time to accomplish the challenge. Take a look at the numbers: NaNoWriMo writers have to write 1666 words per day, but JulNoWriMo writers have to write slightly less, just 1613 words per day. If you want to follow a strict schedule of 1613 words per day, check out this page, which tells you the cumulative total words you have to have written each day to keep up.
Another advantage to JulNoWriMo is that, unlike during NaNoWriMo, you’re not required to start a new novel. If you’ve got some writing in progress, you can pick it up again for JulNoWriMo. You just have to write 50,000 new words during the month of July.
When you start writing, you’ll probably want to show off how much you’ve written by updating your word count on the JulNoWriMo site. The word count system isn’t activated yet, but you’ll need to know how to update it when July comes. First, go to the forums and make sure you’re logged in. Then go to your User Control Panel.
In your user control panel, select Edit Profile.
You’ll see where you can edit your word count on the Edit Profile page come July.
JulNoWriMo’s forums, while not nearly as active as NaNoWriMo’s, are a great place to socialize with others who have also committed to this crazy challenge. You can just have some fun discussion there to take a break from writing, and you can ask your fellow writers for help.
I also highly recommend checking out JulNoWriMo’s collection of links. There’s a huge variety of links to helpful writing resources, and there are also links to all of the different writing challenges throughout the year if you don’t think you’re up for this in July.
One of the biggest challenges to getting 50,000 words down is suppressing the desire to go back and edit your work. It just isn’t possible to go back and fix all of your grammatical mistakes now, when you should instead be focusing on writing as much as possible as quickly as possible.
Typewriter is a program that will make it impossible to edit yourself. This unique minimalist text editor is meant to emulate a typewriter. To that end, it offers none of the features common to word processors and really doesn’t let you do much besides write, save, and print. Most importantly for our purposes, it doesn’t let you use backspace.
Just as if you were using a typewriter, any mistakes you make you’re stuck with, which will require you to just keep on writing and not look back.
If you want a program suited more to creative writing, yWriter might be your best bet. It can help you organize your writing and perhaps make your 50,000 words a little less chaotic.
To get more details on yWriter, check out this article.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, be sure to try out JulNoWriMo. Don’t worry if you don’t make 50,000 words this year. I’ve been doing JulNoWriMo for three years and haven’t quite made it once. But it’s worth coming back each year regardless because it’s a good way to encourage yourself to write. And, who knows, you might find out you’re a creative genius and manage to churn out 50,000 words.
What do you think? Will you participate this year?