NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo Start Nov 1

Today is the start of both NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, whereas the goal of NaBloPoMo is to post every day for a month. NaBloPoMo started after NaNoWriMo, so NaNoWriMo has more of a defined purpose:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

While I don’t want to write a novel, I do want to write a collection of personal essays on technical writing. NaNoWriMo has a goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month, whereas NaBloPoMo requires only a post every day. If you miss a day with NaBloPoMo, you’re done. But with NaNoWriMo, you can catch up. Still, NaNoWriMo requires considerably more output (50,000 words) rather than just a daily post. And it’s supposed to be fiction.

Jane participated in NaBloPoMo last year and found it worthwhile. She said it got her into the writing rhythm in a good way, and ideas started to flow freely. This year I’m going to give NaBloPoMo a try. But I want to try to focus each of my posts around some kind of story.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for the 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication, API documentation, information architecture, web publishing, JavaScript, front-end design, content strategy, Jekyll, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

  • Dan


    Not to nitpick, but…
    I would like to meet the person who can write 50,000 pages in one month. Now THAT would be an accomplishment!

    All smiles,

    • Aimee

      The book, Water for Elephants, was a nanowrimo novel, written by Sara Gruen. There has been many people that have accomplished writing 50,000 words. It doesn’t taken inspiration, or rthe perfect plot. It’s all about goals and determination. You should try it. You might suprise yourself.

    • Tom

      Dan, thanks for pointing out the typo. I didn’t realize I wrote 50,000 “pages” rather than “words.” Yeah, 50,000 pages would really be a feat. It would be the equivalent of writing almost 2 War and Peace novels each day. But even 50,000 words is a lot. If I post 30 blog posts with 1,000 words each, that would be a heck of an achievement, in opinion. Half that is more achievable.

  • Dan

    Also, thanks for posting about this topic. It would be interesting to participate in this event, just to see what kinds of ideas could be generated from writing freely for a month. That Erasmus quote comes to mind: “The desire to write grows with writing.”


    • Tom

      Dan, that quote by Erasmus is my favorite writing quote. Thanks for adding it to the comments here.

  • Susan Grant Slattery

    Thanks for this. I’m going to check it out.

  • Tasha

    Aimee – 50,000 words could easily be accomplished in one month. But the first paragraph says 50,000 PAGES. This typo is what Dan was commenting on.

  • Dan

    @Tasha Correct.

    I feel bad about the silly comment I made about the typo. Sorry Tom!