Psychology teacher Warren Collier reflects on ‘NaNoWriMo’ experience


Written by Clara Kieschnick-Llamas

Psychology teacher Warren Collier has taken part in NaNoWriMo for the past three years. This year, however, Collier will focus on editing one of his previous novels rather than writing a new one.

Collier often thought about writing a novel, but never had the motivation to do it. However, when he heard about NaNoWriMo, he decided to try it. “It was kind of on a whim,” he said. “It just felt like it was a realistic goal to try and accomplish, so it was a good excuse.”

Collier started planning for the novel before November; he wrote an outline, plotting out

which scenes and characters he wanted to incorporate into his story. During the actual month, he had to write 1,667 words per day to reach the goal.

A difficult part for Collier was how time-consuming the project was. “It’s at least several hours of writing every day, and so I had to put a lot of other stuff off to the side,” he said. “As a teacher, unfortunately, one thing that I had to not do as much of was grading.”

Collier urges current and future NaNoWriMo participants to keep persevering. “The whole point is not really to get to 50,000 words,” he said. “The whole point is to start creating something. Even if you’re 30,000 words behind, you shouldn’t let that keep

you from writing more.”

An imporwarren-colliertant factor of NaNoWriMo is that editing isn’t involved in the process. The main objective is just to get as many words as possible on the page, not necessarily the quality of the story. “Do not hit your delete key,” Collier said.

Collier said that the first novel he wrote was one of the most rewarding experiences of his entire life. He strongly encourages everyone to participate. “It’s for anyone, not just for writers or professionals,” he said.

Collier does not plan to publish his novel, but he does see it as a possibility sometime in the future. So far, only his trusted friends have been allowed to read it.