by Hannah Brown, Europe Blogger jaBlog!
Artwork by Journey Meyerhoff
For non-writers, November is just an average month. For writers, however, it’s 30 days of frantic writing, over-caffination, and desperately trying to get a novel on the page.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Originating in the USA, the organization prides itself on being non-profit, meaning they rely on donations from users to keep going year after year. They began in 2000, and since then, hundreds of thousands of writers have tried their hand at writing one whole novel in one measly month.
Let’s say, however, you’re still young and in school, piled high with homework and exam threats, and you simply don’t have time for the 1667 words a day you need to get 50,000 a month, but you still want to participate. What then?
The NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program (YWP) is a branch of NaNoWriMo aimed at, well, young writers, from 11-17. Yes, unfortunately, you can only be 17 or younger…sorry.
If you are 17 or younger, then you may be torn between attempting the big program, 50,000 words, or starting with the YWP where you can set your own goals before moving on and up in the next year.
What can help your decision? A pros and cons list, of course!
NaNoWriMo – The ‘Adult’ Site
- More people use the adult site than the YWP, so there are more people to chat to.
- Some of the writers will have had a lot of experience with NaNoWriMo––and writing in general––and are eager to help up and coming writers.
- There are more forums and more people in the forums. Why is this good? More responses if you post a thread, and more threads than you can shake a stick at!
- 50,000 words in a month is a lot. Some people need an hour to write 1,000 words. If you think about needing 2 hours a day to hit your word count, it’s a lot of time out. Remember, there is a mystical thing called sleep that you might need every now and again (and here is when I should probably say something about school work, too).
- If you’re very young, the writers on the site will feel very grown up. Perhaps it might be better for you if you stick to the teens site for now, and mingle with people your own age.
The Young Writers Program – The Teen Site
- It’s aimed at your age category, meaning it might be more suitable for you: easier to use for example (trust me, getting around the adult site is like a mine field. You click on one link and end up on a page you’ve never even heard of).
- If you’re at school, you can rope in a teacher or older student to help you set up a club or run an educating program, so you and your classmates can work together!
- There’s awesome widgets that you don’t find on the adult site, like the Dare Machine and a Novelling Workbook which you can use before NaNo hits.
- If you’re over 17, I’m afraid it’s the adult site for you! This is my last year, and I’m going to make the most of it!
- All of the forums are all-ages. This means that if you’re writing about a more sensitive topic, there may not be answers out there for you, and you’d have to venture into the big wide world to find them.
- There’s no such thing as a Home Region which you can find on the adult site: a place where actual living, breathing people organize meet ups before, during and after NaNo.
I can’t tell you which site is best. They’re both great, in their own way. Choose the one you think will benefit you most! Good luck to you wherever you may go.
And, of course, you don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo at all. It is just a bit of fun, but if you don’t, make sure you keep on writing!
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2012, both in the adult program and the YWP. The highest word count I’ve ever achieved has been 40,000 words, but this year I am aiming for that big, shining 50,000. Who’s with me?
LTC Insider Plus+ members can enter the NaNoWriMo Polly Prize in December each year.