Every year in November, writers around the world take on the challenge of National Novel Writing Month. Aspiring writers have 30 days to write 50,000 words. In order to reach this intimidating word count, writers have to write about 1,666 words each day. I have done NaNoWriMo for three years now. The first time, I set my own goal and wrote 21,000 words; for my second year I completed 50,000 words and this year I wrote 45,000 words. It is a challenge to juggle school work, sports, extra activities and writing each day.
Some writers choose to outline and figure out their story in October to prepare themselves for this feat, while others choose to attack NaNoWriMo head on with no plan. “With no notice, I started NaNoWriMo on November 1,” sophomore Samantha Smith said. The first time Smith participated in NaNoWriMo, she got halfway through her book, but then turned it into fanfiction.
The title of the story Smith wrote this year is “Everything But Right.” “I wrote in places I probably shouldn’t have, like in class,” Smith said. Smith finished NaNoWriMo early, writing 2,000 words on the weekdays and “splurging” on the weekends, writing 4,000 words.
“This year, for the first time, I used NaNoWriMo’s website. I made chapters before I wrote anything,” English teacher Paul Koch said. The year he started working at Rock Ridge, Koch learned about NaNoWriMo from his writing group. Koch has informed his students of the writing challenge and encouraged them to participate, which is how Smith and I both discovered NaNoWriMo.
Koch’s story is about a tsunami and the characters are trapped on an island. “The polar ice caps melted and flooded and the whole sea level rose and they’re the only two people left on Earth,” Koch said. NaNoWriMo helps Koch get ideas flowing, and he created this story just for this challenge. He only writes 10,000 words for NaNoWriMo because his duty as a teacher comes first.
Like Koch, I also write out of order. I find myself getting lost in the story or confused, so I have to skip around. No matter how you write or how much, just remember this is hard, so don’t get frustrated. “Don’t feel like you have a need to please anyone with your book. Have fun,” Smith said.
She won NaNoWriMo, as did Koch and I.