Written by Deiana Hristov
On Nov. 1, writers all over the country roll up their sleeves and start writing to complete their goal: finish a 30,000 to 50,000 word-long novel in a month. Although writing more than 1000 words a day may be daunting, junior Jojo Qi has participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) four times. “I wanted to do it because in middle school I didn’t have anything to do and I was interested in writing,” she said. “My first novel was just a bunch of vignettes because I wanted to see what it was like just to write over 1000 words a day.”
Although the novel writing begins on November 1st, some writers plan out their novel beforehand. “The first time I did it I just started November 1st because it was kind of a spontaneous thing, the second time I did it I did try to write a rough outline of what it was supposed to be like beforehand,” junior Carolyn Wang said.
Cramming in enough writing a day can be challenging, especially for the busy student. “They have a website where you can upload what you’ve written and they will give you your word count,” Qi said. “Generally it’s a good idea to write 1000 words a day, but I definitely know I had moments where I would write 500 one day and the next day I would write 3000 to make up for it,” Wang said. “I would just say “Ok, for this one hour I’m going to sit down and write and try to get everything out.” However, as the month progresses, the process gets easier. “It’s definitely like doing a workout because when you first start writing, it’s tough to get the gears moving but once you are a couple hundred words into a chapter, ideas and words begin to flow much faster,” Qi said.
According to Qi, individuals in a certain area will often get together to support each other. “There’s big groups of people who actually do face-to-face meetings. For example, there are communities of authors who gather together in local coffee shops to write together on a daily or weekly basis” she said. Wang believes that the website is also a big tool. “On the website they have prompt generators, so if you were really were stuck they could generate a prompt for you.” Although there is a big NanoWriMo community, Wang tackled the novel mostly on her own. “I wasn’t very involved in the Nano community, but I know there were extensive networks for doing this, and that a lot of people will share what they wrote with other people.”
In the end, finishing a novel is an incredibly rewarding experience “When I finished and I saw the word count hit 30,000, I packaged the things I wrote away and didn’t look at it for, like, a month. Once you look at it after a month, considering the pressure I was under, it felt really good,” Wang said.