...Because it's NaNoWriMo time!

…Because it’s NaNoWriMo time!

Well everyone, guess what today is!

I’m sure that most of you just thought “November 1, of course” and moved on with your turkey preparation for later this month.

While that’s admirable, though a little startling that you’re already prepping turkeys, it’s also not entirely true. Today is November 1, yes.  But today is also the first day of NaNoWriMo.  For you turkey-obsessed people who are scratching your heads right now let me let you in on a secret; for a surprisingly large number of people (last year there were officially 341,375 participants, and those were only the ones that joined the website) November is the craziest month of the year because it includes the 30 day challenge known as “National Novel Writing Month” (Or NaNoWriMo for short. Well, shorter.)

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of thirty days, and yes, for my fellow computer hounds, that’s about 150 pages in a word document. Double spaced, 12 point font, Times New Roman.  Knowing this I’m sure a fair amount of you are thinking “why would I ever want to do that?” so I’m here to give you a few reasons why it’s worth checking out.

First of all, the book doesn’t have to be good.  This is important so I’m going to say it again.  The book can completely and utterly suck.  In fact, it doesn’t have to be anything other than 50,000 words.  So you could write a 50,000 word collection of your favorite pie recipes, or a 50,000 word love letter to your dog.  It can be fiction, non-fiction, biography, sci-fi, fan fiction, you name it –and you are allowed to write it.

Again, many of you readers must be wondering “Well fine, but what’s the point?”

The point is, first of all, you might write something genuinely good (or at least the framework for something good.) For instance, Sara Gruen took much of her popular novel-turned-movie Water For Elephants from her NaNoWriMo project.  The potential to stumble upon something great is always a possibility.

Secondly, if you do it, then you have properly displayed the incredible and endlessly useful skill of realistic goal-setting. Sure, 50,000 words sounds tedious, endlessly difficult, and like a lot of work. And yeah, 50,000 words is definitely all of that. But you know what isn’t? 1,667 words. 1,667 is the magic number of NaNoWriMo. If you can get yourself to write a measly 1,667 words a day, by November 30th you’ll hit the goal. And who knows, maybe one of those days you’ll get a great idea and write a little extra, maybe double that 1,667 without even realizing, pretty soon that 50,000 words looks like a wuss when paired against your endless genius.

NaNoWriMo is one of the great events in life that you get recognition not for doing it well, but for doing it at all. This will be my forth year doing Nano and though I failed the first two times (both stories got to about 30k before I fizzled out) my last two years left me with two 50,000 word novels. They’re both absolutely terrible, but I wrote them both completely of my own ambition. And that in itself is reward enough (For now. Someday I want royalties.). Also who knows, maybe when I go back to them in a few years I’ll find something that I didn’t see the first time around.

If you’re interested in participating, you can sign-up on the NaNoWriMo website. Registering is not mandatory (if you wanna participate you just do it) but it’s nice to have support on the days where the words aren’t coming.

As a final note, anyone who is interested but needs a little help with their story should check out the WSU Writing Center on the 3rd floor of Minné in room 348. Make an appointment or stop by to check if they’re taking walk-ins. There are plenty of people willing to help, but you’ve got to take that first step yourself. Write 1,667 words today about something. Write about how you couldn’t find matching socks this morning. Write about that weird guy next door that only waters half his lawn. Write about someone you’ve always wanted to meet. Write something and see where it takes you.

And here’s the kicker: do it again tomorrow.

I believe in you guys!  Now get out there and write some novels!

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Sophie Kaplan

Sophie graduated in 2014 with BA degrees in English Literature and Global Studies with a minor in Japanese Studies. She is from Northfield, MN and her interests include playing video games, cooking, studying Japanese language and culture and traveling.

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