Write, Write, Sleep, Eat, Write: NaNoWriMo 2016

Are your pencils sharpened and Word documents ready? November has descended upon us, along with chapped hands and minimal sunlight, which means it's National Novel Writing Month!

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo is an annual, internet-based, creative writing challenge. Participants have 30 days (from 12 a.m. on Nov. 1 to 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30) to create their masterpieces, which must reach a minimum of 50,000 words to qualify as a win. This translates to a daunting 1,667 words that must be jotted down each blustery November day.

To aid all you aspirational NaNoWriMo participants, we've put together a list of the most popular writing reference books in the last 10 years. Ranking is based on unit sales volumes (according to SalesData) from September 2006 to September 2016.* 

  1. Painless Writing | 9780764118104 | Jeffrey Strausser and Denise Gilgannon
  2. On Writing | 9781439156810 | Stephen King
  3. On Writing Well | 9780060891541 | William Zinsser
  4. Bird by Bird | 9780385480017 | Anne Lamott
  5. The Chicago Manual of Style | 9780226104201 | University of Chicago Staff
  6. The Canadian Style | 9781550022766 | Secretary of State Staff, Dundurn Press Staff, Translation Bureau Staff, and Public Works and Government Services Canada Staff
  7. Grammar to Go | 9780887847233 | Rob Colter
  8. Now Write! | 9781585425228 | Sherry Ellis
  9. The Canadian Writer's Market | 9780771085284 | Sandra Tooze
  10. The Screenwriter's Workbook | 9780385339049 | Syd Field

Some of the most popular titles in the past few years, such as Marissa Meyer's Cinder, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, began their lives on NaNoWriMo – who knows what other fascinating books could come out of this year's challenge? Here at BookNet, we wish all NaNoWriMo participants the best of luck: may your pencils glide smoothly, keyboards go clackity, and words flow freely!

*Data was pulled for the REFERENCE / Writing Skills and LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Composition & Creative Writing subject categories.