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How to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days

Whether you’re an intrigued beginner or a seasoned author, anyone can write a novel in 30 days.

By Fiona Teddy-JimohPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
How to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

Did you know you can write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days? Yes, you! I know, it’s mind-blowing. It’s almost too good to be true, but trust me, this is the real deal.

You may have heard of the traditional tale of traditional writers who traditionally locked themselves away for years, drafting and crafting love stories, criminal stories, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and the everything-else-in-between stories. Their final drafts are then printed and make up many of the cherished books that we own today. Or maybe you’re more like me. An aspiring author whose ambition is to one day write a fully-fledged digital novel, published incrementally on platforms such as Vocal.

So, how do you write a 50,000 word novel in such a short space of time?NaNoWriMo, my friend.

No, it’s not a foreign word (don’t worry I thought this at first), it’s actually an acronym for National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo is an annual 30 day challenge that begins on the first day of November and encourages you to write part of a coherent story every single day throughout the month. The goal is to come out the other end with a 50,000 word (or sometimes more) novel.

This challenge began as nothing more than a curious thought by American freelance writer Chris Baty back in 1991. What started off as a question “can I write a novel within a month?” soon became an active project between himself and twenty of his San Francisco Bay Area friends in July of the same year. Out of all the friends, six of them reached the 50,000 word mark.

One year later Chris Baty decided to repeat this challenge, but this time in November so that he could “fully take advantage of the miserable weather”. Chris wanted more people to get involved. A website was created and during that year, 140 national and international participants took part, with many reaching the same 50,000 word goal. After the overall success and future demand of the challenge, the project became an annual event and in short, Chris Baty accidentally founded National Novel Writing Month, which today is structured as a non-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring creatives all around the world to write their very own novels and more.

Whether you’re an intrigued beginner or a seasoned author, anyone can take part in NaNoWriMo. Here are the rules:

📖 The challenge begins on the 1st of November. That being said, if you feel like doing this during a different month then that’s totally cool too. The main aim is to start at the beginning, or as close to the beginning of the month as you can.

📖 The challenge lasts for thirty days. If you begin your writing on the 1st of November, then the 30th of November is the last day of your writing. Similarly, if you begin your writing on the 13th of March, then the 11th of April is the last day of your writing.

📖 Pre-planning prior to the challenge is not only fine, but actually encouraged. Some might be able to come up with a great story premise in a matter of moments, but if you’re anything like me, you may need days or even weeks to formulate an idea, brainstorm potential characters and their personalities. As long as you don't start actual writing until day one of the challenge then plan away.

📖 You must aim to write at least 1,667 words a day towards your novel. So, in actuality you should come out the other end with at least a 50,010 word novel, but there is a tiny bit of leeway 😉.

📖 Have fun! While this is a challenge that may push you to the furthest reaches of your creative mind, NaNoWriMo is designed to take a solitary and often lonely experience and turn it into an energetic, fun, and fast-paced community event. This is because there are now hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world that actively participate in NaNoWriMo. We are all in this together.

While many people take part in the National Novel Writing Month annual challenge as a personal writing journey, there are also many websites including NaNoWriMo’s official site that allow you to formally get involved with the challenge and other writing events, support other people’s work, chat on creative forums, and more.

So now you know this wonderful piece of uncommon knowledge - you really can write your very own 50,000 word novel. Give it a go, do your best and who knows, I may see your story on a bookshelf shortly.

Good luck and happy writing!


Famous authors that have been published since participating in NaNoWriMo:

  • Sara Gruen: Water for Elephants
  • Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus
  • Rainbow Rowell: Fangirl
  • Marissa Meyer: Cinder, Scarlett, Cress (part of the Lunar Chronicles series)

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About the Creator

Fiona Teddy-Jimoh

Finding innovative ways to connect creative writing with technology in order to deliver an immersive digital experience.

My name is Fiona Teddy-Jimoh and welcome to my world.

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