National Novel Writing Month

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Sophia Pace, Staff Writer

Every year on the first of November, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world begin to write. Their goal: to finish 50,000 words (approximately 165 pages) of a new novel before the end of the month. The National Novel Writing Month challenge, or NaNoWriMo, began in 1999, and has now developed into a nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping people find their creative voices and build the writer community. Whether participants begin the month as teachers, students, blue-collar workers, or stay-at-home moms, they leave as writers. To finish 50,000 words and complete the challenge, authors need to write an average of 1,667 words per day (69 per hour, 1.2 per minute). Here is what some students said about their experience with NaNoWriMo.

“I tried it but I failed,” said Ryah Crandall, a sophomore. “It was a positive experience because it encouraged me to actually do something. I only wrote a story, not a novel. It was about a princess who lived in a castle and wasn’t allowed to leave but had to leave eventually because of reasons. I didn’t actually plan to finish, I just wanted to write. I recommend the challenge to people who like to write and have good grammar. I would not recommend it to people who are hard on themselves because you have to be okay with sucking at it.” 

Sophomore Tyson Ker shared his positive experience. “I had to do a NaNoWriMo back in sixth grade, and I really enjoy writing, so it was really fun. I would definitely recommend doing [the challenge] if you like writing.”

“I started last year, but after the first week, I gave up,” said sophomore Xandre Templeman. “I guess I just wasn’t motivated enough. I wouldn’t recommend it, but that’s just me and I don’t recommend anything. My parents were the ones who made me do the challenge in the first place.”

John Dunn, freshman, said, “doing NaNoWriMo was more fun than I thought it would be. Probably because I decided to write a biography on Michael Jackson, and he’s kind of my idol. He’s Iconic [and] it was cool to learn more about him. There was some hero worship involved. I don’t normally enjoy writing, but this wasn’t as [difficult] as it usually is. [I] wouldn’t recommend just doing [the challenge] for fun because it is pretty hard. I only finished about 20 pages, [but] If you’re serious about writing a book, this is a good start.”

As observed from the experiences of these students, the NaNoWriMo challenge is not for everyone. It requires a lot of time, dedication, and willpower, but for aspiring novelists who really want to test their limits, National Novel Writing Month could be life-changing. It is a great way to build writing skills, connect with other writers from around the world, and learn what a person can do with a keyboard and a little creativity.