By Emily Oberton
Beginning at midnight on November 1, writers across the world will flip open their laptops and let their fingers fly as they begin a thirty-day challenge to write a 50,000-word story for the National Novel Writing Month project. If you’ve ever considered writing a novel, November is the perfect month to begin (and finish!) an entire book, and Singapore is the ideal place to write it.
National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, began in 1999 in the US with only 21 writers. The event is now a global endeavor, with more than 14 million people writing from hundreds of cities across the world. Last year, 264 people from Singapore participated in this free, online writing challenge, which deems anyone who finishes their novel a winner.
Writers, Take Your Mark, Get Set…
NaNoWriMo is a race that’s run one word at a time toward the 50,000-word goal. Some writers who reach the target word count end the month with a completed novel, while others finish with the first 50,000 words of a longer story. There are no restrictions on genre, and novels may be written in any language. Writers validate their word counts at the end of November on the event website.
This high-intensity, deadline-driven writing event encourages novelists to write quickly – really quickly – and edit later. Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been published traditionally, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants.
Although participants must wait until November 1 to begin writing, they may start planning their story as early as September, and announce its title and other basic details in October. National Novel Writing Month, the international nonprofit organization behind the NaNoWriMo event, does not give prizes to winners, but instead awards online badges to writers for reaching milestones, like reaching the first 10,000 words.
To enter the 2019 competition, register at nanowrimo.org and select your home region, then monitor your online dashboard for important dates and regional information. The NaNoWriMo Singapore forum posts invitations to local write-ins and other events.
Writing Resources in Singapore
Singapore, which hosts a vibrant literary and arts community, offers countless resources to aspiring novelists. The Singapore Writers’ Group (SWG) provides writers with opportunities to improve their craft and network with fellow writers during meetups, writing sessions, critique groups and workshops.
International associations, such as the American Women’s Association of Singapore, have special interest groups for writers to share their work and receive feedback.
If you prefer to write outside the walls of your home, there are many public spaces available. Coffee shops are popular spots to power on your laptop, and most public libraries have ample tables and chairs. The National Library Board of Singapore provides a list of all public libraries, which includes detailed information on how to get there, as well as floorplans of each library.
Co-working spaces are sprinkled throughout Singapore, with some of these spaces charging as little as several dollars per hour, or $15 per day. FlySpaces.com helps with the search for coworking spaces in your area.
Online Resources and Groups
Fellow writers are only a hashtag away on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Choose your favorite site and use hashtags, like #nanowrimo, #amwriting, #writingtips and #writerslife to grow your online community of friends who write.
There are many websites – writersdigest.com, thewritelife.com and thecreativepenn.com, for example – that provide tips on the outlining, writing, editing, publishing and marketing of a book. The online learning platform, Udemy, offers reasonably priced e-courses on how to write a novel, too.
If you have a story inside you that’s begging to be written, let November be your month to set it free. Be sure to join the Singapore Nanowrimoers Facebook Group and follow the @wri_sing Twitter handle for Singaporean NaNoWriMo participants.