Everyone wants to write a book.
Well, maybe not everyone, only 200 million Americans (psst, that’s 81% of us).
The vast majority will never do anything about it.
And the people that do sit down and start to write will likely never see any sort of major commercial success.
I’m not going to get all Debbie Downer on you here. That’s not my style, but those are the cold hard facts.
I mean, I’m in that group too. I’d love to write a book. I mean, technically, I have written a book (you can check it out here) but I mean something that’s more story based.
And, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s the simple fact of writing and getting something done that can mean more than money and fame. It’s all about the journey.
So, I always perk up whenever November rolls around.
This time of year, my Twitter feed is suddenly peppered with people who are buckling down for NaNoWriMo, which is sort of a shorter (but still kind of a mouthful) way of saying National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoWriMo encourages people to spend all of November writing those books that the 200 million of us say we want to write. The goal is to hit 50,000 words which is about 200 published pages, a short book.
For your content to ‘count’ you want to sign up to the site, register, and then starting November 20th, submit your finished work.
I haven’t participated in this myself, yet, but the overall benefit of it beyond the writing seems to be more about having accountability.
As you can see from the image above, there are writers everywhere who you can connect with, get motivation, and even join in writing groups.
Overall, I think it’s a pretty cool idea.
And guess what?
A couple of real deal successful books have even been born out of this event.
Bet you didn’t even know it.
In celebration (and maybe some encouragement) of National Novel Writing Month, I want to highlight some of some of the NaNoWriMo bestsellers that have hit the big time.
Get your Amazon wish lists ready kids.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I read The Night Circus a few months ago (Liz Rating: 4 stars) a and really enjoyed it. If you’ve ever wanted to read a book that you desperately want to be made into a movie, this is it.
The story is about a magical circus that arrives without warning at night. Behind the scenes, two magicians are competing against each other with the circus as their center stage.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
With this young adult novel (which is now a series) you only need to know two main things. It’s set in the post-apocalyptic United States and there are zombies.
For most, that’s good enough for a start. Oh yea, it’s also been optioned as a film with Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams rumored to be interested.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
A book club favorite, Water for Elephants not only spent time at the top of the New York Times bestsellers list but also became a popular movie starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.
It’s set in the 1930s and tells the story of an orphaned young man who jumps on a train and discovers it’s home to a traveling circus (I know, more circus stuff). As a partially trained vet, he’s charged with caring for the animals.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Imagine writing not one, not two, but three drafts of three different books during NaNoWriMo. Think it’s nuts? Well, let me introduce Marissa Meyer who banged out her Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlett, and Cress at once.
The concept behind the series is pretty cool. In each, she reimagines a classic fairytale into a futuristic sci-fi retelling. Some of your favorite childhood heroines might just be cyborgs now.
Wool by Hugh Howey
This is another book that features a dystopian post-apocalyptic style world. In this one, people aren’t wandering the landscape, they actually live in an underground silo.
The survivors only are able to exist because of a carefully created set of rules. But, what happens when the biggest rule gets broken? There have been rumors that this is also garnering lots of interest from Hollywood executives.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
What happens when you’ve already written a bestselling book and then decide to use NaNoWriMo for your next one? Rainbow Rowell, the author of Elenor & Park was able to do this and come up with another winner.
Fangirl is all about fandom. Her main character is a prolific fanfiction writer who is ready to head off to college, but as with any coming of age story, she faces quite a few setbacks.
These six books made it into the bestsellers list, pretty awesome, right?
While the chances of success are often few and far between, you never know if your NaNoWriMo draft might turn into something amazing! And even if it doesn’t, the accomplishment of writing something, self-publishing it on Amazon and seeing yourself as an author on there, is pretty damn cool too.
If you’re one of those 200 million who have been thinking about writing a book, consider giving it a try this November!