Help & FAQ

Look here for answers to all your noveling questions (besides that pesky “What should I write about next?”) Please check for an FAQ answer before contacting us. Because we receive a lot of email, we won’t be able to respond to questions answered directly in the FAQ.

First, be sure you’ve...

  • ...checked the Tech Help forum for possible immediate assistance with technical bugs and glitches.


Top FAQs:

Where do I write my novel?

You can write your novel anywhere you want! If you choose to write in the YWP writing space, you’ll see your word count and badges update as you type, plus get access to other fun features, and your novel will be stored on the site. If you choose to write somewhere else (Google docs, your notebook, a series of napkins), then make sure you select the “update my word count manually” option when you create your novel, and visit the site often to update your progress. You can always switch your mind later and edit your choice in “Novel Settings” - just click the wrench above the novel title.

What should my word-count goal be?

Each writer’s goal will be different. Think about your writing experience, age, schedule, and enthusiasm for NaNoWriMo. Your goal should be difficult but still achievable; inspiring, not discouraging. For some people, that means a goal of 1,000 words - for others, 100,000! Adjust your goal throughout the month if it’s not working for you. Look to the Word-Count Goal How-To for more information and a suggested word-count guide.

What should I write about? What if I don’t know how to write a novel?

You should write about something that excites you. Think about the kinds of books you love to read, and make a list of what you love about them. Dystopian sci-fi set on far-off planets? Real-life stories starring characters with an attitude? If you enjoy reading about it, you’ll probably enjoy writing about it too. And as for not knowing how to write a novel, that’s how every author starts! The best way to learn how to write is to write, and if you need more help, check out the Resources section for workbooks, pep talks, videos, and more.

How do I win NaNoWriMo? Are there judges? Do I get a free printed copy of my novel if I win?

You win NaNoWriMo by reaching your word-count goal between November 1 and November 30. There’s no limit to how many people can win, and there are no judges!

In past years, we've been able to work with sponsors who offered NaNoWriMo winners a free printed hard copy of their novels. This year, we weren’t able to secure a sponsor who could offer that. Options you can pursue on your own include submitting your work to an online magazine, self-publishing your book online, or downloading a PDF and binding your novel yourself.

What happens after NaNoWriMo ends? Can I keep working on my novel? Can I start a new one?

You can continue working on your NaNoWriMo novel all year on the YWP site (but your badges and charts will no longer update). You can keep challenging yourself in other ways too, like by participating in the Camp NaNoWriMo challenge in April and July, or setting a personal challenge for yourself any time of year.



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