Write that Novel!

PC: Levi Ventura

PC: Levi Ventura


The start of Nov. marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. The first NaNoWriMo involved 21 people in 1999; now over 400,000 people of all ages participate in this worldwide event.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is simple: reach a word count of 50,000 words by Nov. 30. This can be achieved by writing around 1,667 words each day of the month.

To get started, you can visit nanowrimo.org and create your profile. You’ll be able to share information about yourself and the novel that you’re planning to write. On Nov. 1, you’ll be able to start updating your word count and watch your progress throughout the month.

Finding extra time to write in an already busy schedule might seem like more trouble than it’s worth, but the experience can be rewarding. The focus of NaNoWriMo is reaching a certain word count, and your writing may be terrible during the month; in fact, it likely will be. But the purpose of the initiative is to simply write. First drafts will always contain many errors, but also many successes. You may surprise yourself with your writing!

Rainbow Rowell, a Nebraskan author, credits NaNoWriMo for the development in her book Fangirl. Although she didn’t finish the first draft of the book in one month, she did meet the wordcount.

By spring of the next year, she had doubled the word count and begun her revisions. She believes that the 50,000 words she compiled during the month is some of her “bravest writing” and she was surprised by how much of it she kept during the revisions. So have I ever reached the famed 50,000 word count? I’m almost embarrassed to say that I have not. Yet, I’m proud of the thousands of words I’ve compiled each Nov. I’ve found that simply starting is usually the hardest part of writing.

The pages I’ve filled during this time have helped encourage me to keep working on the project throughout the year. NaNoWriMo doesn’t have to be a stressful race to reach 50,000 words. It’s an opportunity to write that story you’ve always had in the back of your mind. I highly encourage everyone to try and participate!




Amanda McCarter is a senior studying biomedical science.