Use NaNoWriMo to Meet Your Nonfiction Writing Goals

NaNoWriMo CrestHave you met your writing goals for the year? No motivation, no writing routine? It’s almost the end of the year – are you thinking, “Why bother now?”

No more excuses. Now is the perfect time. And meeting your goals, getting motivated, and starting a writing routine are perfect reasons to try National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. Join hundreds of thousands of writers who dive into a writing frenzy beginning November 1st with the goal of finishing a 50,000-word draft by midnight on the 30th.

“But…but I’m not writing a novel,” you say.

No problem.

Be a Rebel

Don’t let the term “rebel” scare you off. Some rules just beg to be broken. According to WikiWriMo.org:

A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words from scratch in November. Some NaNo rebels choose to continue a novel…while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.

Use NaNoWriMo to suit your project. Memoir. How-to book. Personal essays. A year of blog posts. If you have one or more nonfiction projects you’ve been busting to start or finish, then becoming a NaNo Rebel is for you. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is a huge accomplishment and one to be proud of, even if it’s not the draft of a novel as NaNo was originally intended.

Joining NaNoWriMo is Easy, and Free

Sign up here, define your novel (as a Rebel, ignore the term “novel”), and start writing on November 1st. Whether you reach 50K words or not, you are eligible for sponsor offers as a participant, such as Scrivener at 20% off. If you want to be eligible for winner offers (50% off Scrivener, for example), validate the word count of your “novel” by November 30th.

Along with perks at the end, you’ll get plenty of encouragement along the way with pep talks, writing resources, forums, and virtual write-ins. And you’ll have the chance to meet other participants and attend “real” write-in events (check out your region for these).

Two Undisputed Rules

Whether you win NaNoWriMo the traditional way by writing the draft of a novel or by going the Rebel route and breaking the rules, follow these two unofficial rules to reach your goal:

  • Just Write (to watch your word count soar), and
  • Don’t Stop to Edit. The goal is a first draft in thirty days. You’ll have plenty of time to edit later.

Still on the Fence?

  • Find out more about NaNoWriMo on this page, including its nonprofit status, mission statement, and a list of published WriMos.
  • Check out this NaNo forum for Rebels.

Be a Rebel – finish the draft of your nonfiction project this year!


If November doesn’t work for you, plan to join Camp NaNoWriMo in April and/or July (see “Accomplish Your Writing Goals with Camp NaNoWriMo“).

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