NaNoWriMo isn’t just for writers

Photo by Blake Israel

Writing a novel in a month seems impossible, but that’s what nearly 40,000 writers do every year in November.

National Novel Writing Months (usually shortened to NaNoWriMo) is a month-long challenge where writers from around the world try to write 50,000 words for a single project.

With a nearly 40% success rate, NaNoWriMo forces writers to finally set aside time in their day to sit down and work on projects they are passionate about but never have time for.

Setting an average pace of 1667 words a day, NaNoWriMo sets a grueling pace and it is just as much a testament to the hardwork behind writing as it the actual art of writing a novel.

At the end of the month, if you are successfully able to complete the challenge, you will get a certificate and a banner, certifying your completion, and more importantly, the draft to a brand new novel.

Great books, like Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl” and Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder,” have come out of NaNoWriMo, but the process to get there was far from easy.

Fitting in the time to write over a thousand words everyday is difficult and for a college student, it may seem impossible, but I believe that is exactly why it’s important to do it. This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo and to be honest, it’s already pretty intimidating. In true Georgia Tech fashion, I spent hours on Reddit, reading through subreddits about how feasible it was for a college student to try and do NaNoWriMo and what I found surprised me.

Contrary to Reddit’s usual negativity, nearly every single response I read said that it was more than possible for a student to do it.

From first-year undergrads to last-year grad students, there was an oupouring of positive support, all with a common message: NaNoWriMo is possible to anyone as long as you choose to make time for it and you’re not alone in doing it.

That simple takeaway is why I think everyone should do NaNoWriMo, or something similar, at least once in their life.

NaNoWriMo asks you to set aside a hour everyday to make time for writing and your continuous choice to do this for a whole month teaches you discipline and commitment in a way little else can.

You’re not alone in making this choice.

From adults with kids to students like us, we’re all making sacrifices to meet that 50,000 word deadline and nothing builds community better than sacrifice. NaNoWriMo has an extensive online network, filled with forums and planned writer meetups in local cafe.

With events like Virtual Write-Ins or Writer Yoga, NaNoWriMo works to build a community of people, who just like you, are trying to meet a seemingly impossible deadline.

Even if you aren’t a writer, try setting out a hour a day to do something you love — revisiting an old hobby or trying a new one — this month.

Just by trying to make the effort to set aside time, you’ll be surprise how much time you actually have in a day and how many people you’ll meet through hobbies.

If you are a writer, I strongly encourage that you do NaNoWriMo, even if it’s not this year.

To sign up, all you have to do is go nanowrimo.org and create an account.

At the end of the month, you’ll upload your novel to the website to verify that it’s reached the word count.

On Nov. 30, maybe you won’t have finished your novel or even gotten close to the 50,000 word count, but you’ll have the start of a great novel and a new commitment to making time for the things that matter, and what else could you ask for.