Write a 50,000 word novel in one month. This is the challenge over 400,000 people from all over the world take every November when they sign up to participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Whether they are busy single moms, nine to five office workers or Jefferson students, aspiring writers can struggle to find time to start and continue writing. NaNoWriMo offers writers the motivation to do just that by imposing daily word goals that set them on a track to finishing a novel by the end of the month.
“Since I have to dedicate a certain amount of time to my writing, I’m trying to focus this entire month completely [as] just my writing month,” junior Mei Baek said. “I need to think about it even in my free time so just the fact I’m thinking about my writing more and constantly thinking about what I can do to make it better is really helping me with writing.”
Because the month is so writing intensive for NaNoWriMo participants, it reveals the weaknesses and strengths they have in writing and pushes them to either overcome their difficulties or fail to finish their novel by the end of the month.
“It’s just a matter of practice; what do I like to write about, what sounds good, what kind of stories am I good at, what am I bad at, also pacing is a big thing for me,” junior Jack Mclaughlan said. “I always end up writing stories that are too short or too long so this is kind of a good framework to pace myself so I can get an idea of ‘now I should be moving towards the end’ or ‘now I’m still working on the beginning’”
Regardless of the outcome, the event provides an opportunity for writers to flesh out ideas they might have never explored otherwise and refine their craft. Through this experience, they can end up with a novel that connects with people all over the world.
“Right now I’m working on a short story. It’s about a girl that’s trapped in a hotel with an infinite number of doors and I want the reader over the course of the story why she’s trapped there,” Baek said. “The idea of some place with an infinite number of rooms or realities is something that always intrigued me. I wanted to do something original with the whole idea that speaks more to teenagers at my age or in the TJ community so it has something to do with issues that teenagers can face.”