In the writing world, the month of November is synonymous not with Thanksgiving, but with another, much more stressful (and exciting!) event: National Novel Writing Month.

What is National Novel Writing Month?

Started in 1999 by freelance writer Chris Baty, National Novel Writing Month came about as a way to build community in writing world as wordsmiths encouraged one another (and held each other accountable) in completing a 50,000-word manuscript in one month.

According to Wikipedia, in National Novel Writing Month’s first occurrence, 140 authors participated. In 2013, 400,000 authors did.

National Novel Writing Month

In fact, the event has gone global—many writers in other countries such as the UK and Europe have reportedly been joining in the fun.

How Does NaNoWriMo Work?

Simple—go to the National Novel Writing Month website, make a profile, and get started! Write a description of your novel, upload a cover photo, and report your progress every day. Your word count is noted, and if you miss a day, there’s a handy way to calculate the following word counts you’ll need every day to still complete 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Forums—the Best Way to Chat

Check out some of the amazing National Novel Writing Month forums available. Need some encouragement? Write a message in the forum. Can’t decide on a character’s name or town? Go to the Appellation Station forum for suggestions from others! Wondering whether your villain is believable? Try the Character Café for fellow writers’ advice. If there’s something you need help with in your NaNoWriMo manuscript, there is a forum to discuss it at.

Buddy! Buddy! The NaNoWriMo Buddy System

Got a great group of writer friends on Twitter, Facebook or Google+? Add them as your NaNoWriMo writing buddies! Put their name or novel title in the NaNoWriMo search bar, then add them to your buddy list. It’s a great way to stay accountable, cheer one another on, send messages and share excerpts of what you’re working on.