It’s nearly that time of year again when writers from around the globe decide whether they are up to the challenge of taking part in NaNoWrimo, the National Novel Writing Month contest.

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWrimo is let me explain. It is an online event where participants try to write a novel with a minumum length of 50,000 words in just a month. Entrants can sign up and log details of their novel from October 6th, but can’t start writing until the 1st of November. The deadline for completing the 50,000 word target is 23:59 on the 30th of November.

At the end of the contest participants who can verify that their word count is at least 50,000 words are classed as winners. The entries submitted aren’t judged on the quality of the writing. Only the wordcount matters here.

As crazy as it may sound, to try to write a novel in a month, there are literally hundreds of thousands of writers who take part each year. Writers are by their very nature procrastinators, so NaNoWriMo was designed to combat this trait and get people writing solid for a month. It seems to have worked.

I posted quite a lengthy article the other day about Ulysses, the minimal, yet extremely powerful piece of writing software from The Soulmen. You can see that article here.

I was contacted recently by the developers to let me know about a special offer they are running to coincide with NanoWriMo. There is a dedicated trial of Ulysses for Mac (not iPad) available from www.ulyssesapp.com/nanowrimo. The trial runs from the 1st of October all the way through to the 7th of December. Enough time to get acquainted with the software before the start of NaNoWriMo on November 1st, and then to write your novel throughout November using Ulysses. All for free. Of course you can download the trial even if you are not taking part in the contest this year.

The Soulmen are also running a free email course to acquaint writers with the software or, if there isn’t enough time in your schedule to take the course, you can watch the free quick start webinar. Details can be found at the linked address above.

Also the first 200 NaNoWriMo participants to purchase Ulysses will win a copy of Writing A Novel With Ulysses by British author, David Hewson. David is an avid fan of Ulysses and I recommend you check out his blog at www.davidhewson.com.

Those of you who read my overview of Ulysses know how highly I rate the software and its features — plain text writing with the power of markup, a simple yet powerful set of organisational tools ideal for planning and writing a full length novel, iCloud syncing across devices and a clean, simple UI.

This is a real chance to test drive a great piece of software for two and a bit months and use its power and simplicity to help get you through NaNoWriMo in one piece. After all, one of Ulysses’ core strengths is its ability to allow you to focus on the words you write and nothing else. Potentially all 50,000 of them! Good luck.

NaNoWriMo image is courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.