How NaNoWriMo Works for Writers

1. Sign up for NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program.

Be sure to register as a “Young Writer.” If you're signing up as part of a class, use the classroom code your teacher provided and you won't need an email. If you're signing up on your own, register with either your email (if you're 13 or older), or your parent/guardian's email (if you're under 13). 

Sign up

IMPORTANT DETAILS: Your parent, guardian, or educator must review the Terms & Conditions and give you permission before you establish an account. 

 2. Tell us about yourself.

Go to your Profile & Settings to upload an avatar and fill in as much profile information as you’d like.

Profile & settings

IMPORTANT DETAILS: We take your privacy and safety seriously. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information on what we collect and display. Consult with your parent, guardian, or educator before you fill in your profile.

 3. Create a novel.

If there's an upcoming or current NaNo writing challenge, click "Yes, I accept!" from the "Take the Challenge" box on the dashboard. 

If there's no official NaNo event, then create your own personal challenge by clicking "Yes!" and filling in details about your project—including your own personal word-count goal. (You can update this info at any time, so no pressure!) 

More detailed instructions on how to start your first project can be found here!

Start your novel now

IMPORTANT DETAILS: The main NaNoWriMo event happens each November. Camp NaNoWriMo occurs every April and July. You can start a personal challenge any time.

4. Get familiar with your on-site writing space.

  • Have fun! Choose a font, add a cover photo, change your color scheme. 

  • Getting ready for a challenge? Add Novel Notes to brainstorm ideas, write character sketches, or pep yourself up. They don't count towards your word-count goal.


5. Use our Writer Resources.

We’ve got workbooks, pep talks, videos, and NaNoWriMo flair to get you prepared and inspired to write.

Writer Resources

 6. Connect with fellow novelists.

Visit our forums to talk noveling with young writers around the world—and sometimes procrastinate a little.

Writer forums

IMPORTANT DETAILS: Our forums are governed by strict Codes of Conduct and fully moderated by NaNoWriMo staff members. If you are under 13, you cannot access the forums. If you are 13 or over, consult with your parent, guardian, or educator before you begin posting in the forums.

 7. When the challenge begins, start writing!

Your story matters. And for 30 crazy, exciting, surprising days, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create. 

Event start

IMPORTANT DETAILS: The main NaNoWriMo challenge begins November 1. The Camp NaNoWriMo challenges begin April 1 and July 1. Personal challenges begin whenever you choose!

 8. Earn badges and track your progress.

We'll award you badges for days-in-a-row and percentage completed. Check your badges from the Dashboard or your writing space.

Writing badges

IMPORTANT DETAILS: You can write your novel anywhere. Write on-site to see your word-count progress update automatically, or write off-site and update your word count manually from the dashboard. That option can be set and changed in novel settings at any time.

 9. Stay motivated.

For small bursts of inspiration, try out the Dare Machine or Writing Sprints, found to the left of the writing space or from the novel box on the Dashboard.

Dare Machine


10. Keep writing until the very end.

If you reach your word-count goal by 11:59:59 PM on the last day of the challenge, you'll be declared a NaNoWriMo winner! Show off your hard work with a winner certificate or badge. 

Event end

IMPORTANT DETAILS: The main NaNoWriMo challenge ends November 30. The Camp NaNoWriMo challenges end April 30 and July 31. 

After a Challenge Ends

  • Print your novel with our self-publishing partner, Blurb. Use the PDF download from the writing space for a simple process, or get creative. Read our how-to suggestions, or publish your novel now.

  • Your novel will remain on our site as long as you keep your account. Come back to continue writing and editing! In January and February, we support the process through our “Now What?” Months.

  • You can create new goals throughout the year, with personal challenges or site-wide events like Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. 

Read more on our Help & FAQ page.