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Writing a novel in a month can help anyone break out of their rut—whether it’s your first novel or your tenth.

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It may sound crazy, but writing a novel in a month is a creative-writing exercise that has taken the fiction community by storm. The practice was made popular by writer Chris Baty, who held a month-long challenge in 1999 for 21 writers. This event, now called NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel-Writing Month), happens every year during the month of November and has since grown in popularity to include tens of thousands of active participants. If you’re planning to participate in NaNoWriMo or simply want to write a novel in a month on your own, here are some tips to make it work for you.

3 Benefits of Writing a Novel in a Month

Writing a novel in a month can help anyone break out of their rut—whether it’s your first novel or your tenth. Here are some reasons why it can be rewarding:

  1. It gets you writing. The main idea behind writing a novel in a month is that it encourages writers to write. If you’ve felt like you’re stuck in a rut or overwhelmed by writer’s block, this may be just the thing to get you reinvigorated about a new writing project.
  2. It establishes a daily routine. More than just getting you to write during the month, the exercise of writing a novel in a month helps you establish a consistent writing routine. In the end, it’s not all about writing a great book—it’s also about the writing habits and writing processes you develop along the way.
  3. It’s all about the first draft. Another big problem writers often have is they get hung up on editing everything they’ve written, rewriting and polishing it before they move on—and this usually results in not a lot of writing. If you decide to write a novel in a month, you don’t have time for the editing process. This will help you focus on word count and moving forward rather than idling. It will help you release your focus on writing an instant bestseller and get back in the mindset of a rough draft, which is the right place to start.
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8 Tips for Writing a Novel in a Month

Interested in diving in? While there’s no perfect step-by-step guide for how to write a novel in a month, here are some writing tips to help make your experience a success: