NaNoWriMo: What It Is and How HigleyFox Can Help

NaNoWriMo starts soon—in just two weeks to be exact. You might be a prime candidate for NaNoWriMo if you fit one of these descriptions:

  • You have never written a novel and want to see if you can.
  • You are looking to stretch your creative muscles.
  • You struggle with setting your own deadlines and goals and need an accountability partner.
  • You enjoy working within a writing community.
  • You suffer from writer’s block and need some motivation.
  • You love a challenge.
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To folks unfamiliar with the fall marathon-writing phenomenon NaNoWriMo, this combination of letters might sound like the top-secret name of a CIA mission. In reality, it’s a little less intense than that, but as any seasoned NaNoWriMo writer will tell you—not by much.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and to authors all over the world, it rules the month of November. In just 30 short days, by writing 1,667 words a day, participants are able to look back at 12:01 a.m. on December 1 and say “I have written a novel.”

Before you pledge your allegiance to the writing gods, however, you may be wondering—why? Why devote a portion of every day of the month of November to writing a book? The answer: Why not?

The Why

Seven-time NaNoWriMo participant and published Idaho author Lorraine Barraras (pen name Mati Raine) says, “NaNoWriMo is a month where you get to write, and abandon that voice in your head that tells you something isn't good enough. Participating feels like riding a bike down a hill with no brakes. There is a reckless abandon when you put words on paper and shut down the editor in your head. It takes a few hours a day to write, at least for me, but on good days, you can get ahead on your word count and just keep going. Some days I've had nothing but a scrap of paper with a few sentences on it I took home after work, and others I had pages ready to go.”

For writers who normally struggle with getting out of their own way, NaNoWriMo may be just what the biblio-doc ordered. “You don't have to force the story to be seamless,” Barreras says. “You just have to write. I've jumped chapters ahead and written what I was inspired to. It's much easier to get past writer’s block because you aren't restrained just by the story at hand.”

Getting in the habit of writing every day, even when sitting down at the computer is the last thing you want to do, is one of the main reasons why you should give NaNoWriMo a try. It takes 21 days to form a habit, which means if you can keep it up, NaNoWriMo can set you up for a lifetime of writing. Whether your dream is to put down your life story or the story of a lifetime, the first step is just putting words on paper consistently.

Perhaps the greatest reason you should consider jumping aboard the NaNoWriMo train is that if you manage to stick with it, at the end of the month, you’re guaranteed to have a 50,000-word novel. What you choose to do with that novel after it’s finished is up to you, but either way, you’re entitled to 50,000 words worth of bragging rights. While 50,000 words may not fill out all the necessary pages for a traditional novel (a YA manuscript should be about 80,000 words, while an adult manuscript should fall somewhere between 80,000 to 100,000 words), it’s at least half, if not more than half of the work, and by the time you hit 50,000 words, it’s much easier to keep up the momentum to the end.

But Has a NaNoWriMo Novel Ever Been Published?

If your NaNoWriMo novel makes it on the New York Times best-seller list, you’ll be in good company. According to the NaNoWriMo website, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder were all products of this national month of writing. Check out this list from Goodreads, featuring 27 YA novels that started as NaNoWriMo projects. You can also find a full list of published NaNoWriMo novels on the NaNoWriMo website.  

How Can HigleyFox Help?

If you’re excited about the prospect of writing a novel for NaNoWriMo but aren’t really sure what to write about, you may be interested in booking a one-hour brainstorm session with Chantel Fox or Danielle Higley. An in-person or web video consult is just $25.00 an hour, and we’re happy to help you flush out your idea prior to putting pen to paper. Often it’s helpful just having someone there to ask the necessary questions. Is this idea big enough/small enough for one novel? Why this setting? Why this character perspective? What research will need to be done to make this book believable, and is it a manageable amount for the time you have?

Once your book is complete, and after you’ve had some time to revise and put your pages in front of a few beta readers (check out this blog to see what we’re talking about), we’re also here to do whatever edits you deem necessary to get your book ready for submission or self-publication.

We offer three different editing packages, with services that include content editing, copy editing, and proofreading. And, as always, you’re welcome to book that consult with us at any time. We’re happy to discuss your book with you throughout the month of November and beyond, and we’re even available to meet on a bi-weekly or monthly basis if you’d like an accountability partner to read over what you’ve written and act as a sounding board for what’s to come. Just shoot us an email at!


NaNoWriMo is an exceptional opportunity to write with purpose. By challenging yourself to take daily steps toward a 50,000-word goal, you can achieve in a month what many people only dream about their whole lives. Be sure to register on the NaNoWriMo website and check out all their resources and tips (they send out some awesome bi-weekly emails you’ll be glad to have when the writing gets tough!). Then, when you’re ready, come on back to and sign up for an edit with one of our highly qualified editors! We’d love to check out your NaNoWriMo manuscript!