NaNoWriMo: A month of opportunity


Lizzy Camp

Writers all around the country are getting ready for NaNoWriMo 2020.

Lizzy Camp, Staff Writer

Every November since 2016, I have taken part in a seemingly impossible challenge. Writing a full length novel, about 50,000 words, in less than a month. National Novel Writing Month, also called NaNoWriMo, is the yearly challenge that nearly 800,000 people participate in. The event takes place in November, and for thirty days, writers across the world attempt to create a new story. 

NaNoWriMo believes that everyone has a story, and that every story deserves to be told. Whether that be an epic adventure, a realistic fiction, or even a script for a play, you are constantly told that your story matters. Many times I have felt like my story is terrible, and that the world would be a better place without it, but NaNoWriMo has shown me that a story is not terrible, it is simply in the process of being created. 

Creating something from nothing is one of the most challenging things about NaNoWriMo. A lot of times, your novel idea is not even an idea yet, just a spark, waiting to light a fire. NaNoWriMo helps me nurture that flame of an idea. Authors give inspiring pep talks, write-ins happen all over the world, and the forums on the website are a haven for creators. 

NaNoWriMo has taught me many things, I learned, and am still learning, that nothing will be perfect the first time. My November nights are usually filled with me deleting and rewriting entire sections of my story, hoping my first draft will be the only one. There is no better way to get over perfection than having a time constraint on your writing. My writing will not be perfect in the first draft, nor the second, nor the third. NaNoWriMo actively teaches that mistakes are gifts, and more specifically, tools to learn and grow your story.

Writing is a way for me to tell my story. While I might not be on an adventure or saving a kingdom, I can reflect my experiences onto my characters. Writing allows me to cope with stress and emotions in a healthy way. I turn my problems into plot points, and resolving them not only moves my story along, but also helps me come to terms with the struggles I face daily. 

Since my first novel in sixth grade, my writing has grown in ways I did not know were possible. At times I feel like my writing is amounting to nothing, that it will never be as good as Brandon Sanderson or G.R.R Martin, but NaNoWriMo and the community around it has helped me to change my view. Your story does not have to be perfect. It does not even have to be good. Your story simply needs to exist to matter. There is no wrong way to write a story. The only incorrect way would be to not write one in the first place. 

There are two main NaNoWriMo websites: the original, and the Young Writers Program. The original site will not let you write onsite, you must update your word count manually from a separate document. You are also set at the goal of 50,000 words. This site also contains forums for specific genres and groups. 

The Young Writers Program is specifically designed for writers ages 18 and younger. You can write your novel directly onsite, or offsite. You can change your word count goal to whatever number you choose. This website also has forums, and includes not only writing forums, but also social forums, where writers can connect outside of writing. 

You have a story to tell. Somewhere, deep inside you, an idea is ready to take shape. Why not let it free? NaNoWriMo 2020 starts November 1, at 12:00 AM, and ends November 30, at 11:59 PM. An entire month to let your imagination run wild, to create new worlds, and to discover a part of yourself that you have never seen before, and all you need to do is participate and write whatever comes to mind.