National Blog Posting Month, frequently abbreviated as NaBloPoMo, is a month-long writing exercise that occurs each November. The first NaBloPoMo occurred in November of 2006 at the urging of American blogger M. Kennedy. Kennedy was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which also happens every November, and thought that there should be a blogging counterpart. NaBloPoMo has grown steadily in popularity thanks to the extensive information distribution network between bloggers. Hundreds of participants entered in the first NaBloPoMo, and every year the numbers seem to increase.
Relationship to NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo was founded in 1999 by 21 authors in the San Francisco Bay Area who wanted to motivate themselves to produce more written work. The challenge requires authors to produce a complete 50,000 word novel during November. The novel does not have to be profound, and there are no rules that say it needs to be published — rather, the main goal is to get writers into the habit of regular and disciplined writing with a clear end-goal in place.
National Blog Posting Month is similar in that it emphasizes discipline, but different in a number of key respects, too. NaBloPoMo participants cannot take days off or extensively modify their writing schedules, for instance. They must generate new material every day for thirty days. As a result, the attrition rate in the challenge is very high, with many participants dropping out in the first few weeks.
Rules and Registration
Bloggers who are interested in participating typically sign up or “register” their blog with a centralized database, usually hosted by a particular blogger. In the beginning, there was just one registry where bloggers could sign up, but more and more blogs, bloggers, and writing groups around the world act as “sponsors” of NaBloPoMo challenges. Writers often have more choice now when it comes to where they want to sign up. Registrants are usually able to view the links of all other bloggers participating, and in many cases entire blogging communities form around the shared experience of writing every day.
The rules are relatively straightforward. Participants are required to publish one post on their personal website or blog every day. There is not usually any length requirement, which means that some posters will craft long essays every day while others will post little more than photographs and brief captions. Participants are not permitted to “back post” — that is, fill in missing dates from the future — nor are they allowed to write posts in advance. The goal is to actively create a post every day for a month.
Subgroups and Prompts
Some groups add additional rules or restrictions to make the challenge more interesting. Daily prompts are one example — some organizers will release a prompt that bloggers must respond to that day, for instance. Prompts can be very specific, like “discuss your first memory,” or more open-ended, such as “write about something that inspired you today.” Others set rules about word count or outbound links. Various groups and blogging communities may also sponsor NaBloPoMo events in months other than November, depending on demand and interest.
Prizes and Recognition
NaBloPoMo typically comes with prizes, most of which are from members of the blogging community. Writers are often recognized by other participants for creativity, tenacity, or emotion, among other things. Depending on the sponsor, awards may exist for any number of categories and criteria, and the prizes are usually equally varied. In the inaugural year, for instance, prizes included a hand knitted scarf, German chocolates, original art, jars of jelly, psychic reading services, and a variety of other creative contributions. The grand prize was a year of free website hosting along with installation of Word Press, a popular blogging software.
No matter where it is hosted, the challenge is generally unenforceable, which means that participants are relying on each other's honor to post each day and to be honest about their contributions. Most NaBloPoMo contests include a consolation prize for the blogger with the best tragic tale about why he or she was unable to complete the challenge. Extenuating circumstances such as fire, evacuation, or medical emergency are usually required.