Nanowrimo- the month of literature nerds


Kate Murray, Reporter

Halloween is done and to most businesses this means Christmas has begun.  Christmas catalogs are being sent out and presents are being prepared, but to many nerds there’s something else to do before they can start celebrating.  Nanowrimo, a shortening of “National Novel Writing Month” has occurred every year in November since 2000.  It started in 1999, but was originally in July.

The idea of the whole thing is to encourage writers from all over the world to pen a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.  This amounts to 1,667 words a day, which seems perfectly reasonable until you start writing and find it took you almost two weeks to get 1,500 words.

“I didn’t get very far last year,” said 8th grader Lydia Grawe who wrote 2,000 words in Nanowrimo 2013.

Despite the panic a goal as lofty as this might bring about, there are many payoffs.  The point of it may be to write a huge novel, but it also encourages over 300,000 people to relentlessly practice writing and improve their craft.  Writer’s block has been known to stop a great many novels before they get off the ground and having a daily word quota can help break through the dreaded block.

“[Not writing a lot] kinda makes you think ‘Wow this wasn’t so hard!  The only reason I didn’t reach the goal was writer’s block!  I’ll try again next year!’” said Grawe.

I decided to participate this year, and so far I’ve written nearly 10,000 words, which is truly remarkable considering I usually need almost a year to write that much.  As of writing this I’m stuck in a writer’s block, but I’m still quite proud of what I’ve got and what I’ve learned.

Learning is the largest goal the Nanowrimo community seems to share, and there are no subjects off limits. Even racism, a very touchy subject, is widely discussed in forums, specifically how to accurately portray the kinds of struggles ethnic minorities might have.  Many people discuss how most people are writing their genre, and there is even a forum titled “Nanowrimo ate my soul,” which focuses on learning how to deal with massive amounts of work and how to keep going, even if you hate what you’ve written.

If you want to wrangle a novel from the depths of a blank page, then next year this is the thing for you.  To learn more go to Nanowrimo’s about page, or their statistics page.