For most, pumpkin spice lattes, cooler weather and Thanksgiving come with November. For writers around the world, it means writing a novel in thirty days.
The goal of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is to write a 50,000 word novel before the start of December.
According to the NaNoWriMo website, the aims of the project are for writers to “just write”, to keep writers from getting caught in perfectionism and give the chance to those that would not normally write a story.
NaNoWriMo was started by a small group of writers in 1999. Later, they created a website that became the annual phenomenon it is today. NaNoWriMo is funded by sponsor and participant donations.
“I think NaNoWriMo stretches writers into becoming actual authors. It forces them to sit down and write when they could be watching TV or wasting time,” Faris Sweiss, English major, said.
Maintaining a steady word count throughout the month is key to not falling behind. Writing a novel, however, can be difficult to balance with other responsibilities like schoolwork, employment and sports. Adding writing a novel to an already busy schedule can turn life into a juggling act.
“I write at least 1,600 words a day,” Andi Pace, graphic design major, said. “Schoolwork does come first, though, so I don’t always get to write often.”
Participants can upload their unfinished novel to the NaNoWriMo website, which tracks their word count. The website offers forums where participants can share tips, story ideas and other information with writers around the world. It also offers web badges and widgets they can display on their websites.
Participants that complete NaNoWriMo, which means uploading a 50,000 word novel prior to midnight on Nov. 30, receive a certificate of completion, various images denoting victory and the option of purchasing “Winner” T-shirts. Participants also receive the personal satisfaction of knowing they successfully completed a book.
Some of the books produced from NaNoWriMo have been published, including Sara Gruen’s best-selling novel “Water for Elephants,” which was recently adapted to film.
“It’s a great way to write and flesh out a novel. You don’t have to actually win NaNoWriMo to have a good time,” Pace said.