Maddie De Pree is a Junior, Vol. 6: NaNoWriMo is Going to Kill Me

By: Maddie De Pree, Columnist

Happy NaNoWriMo, folks!

For those who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo. Or NaNo. It has a lot of abbreviations.) All month, a bunch of writers — some amateurs, some professionals — will be banging out first drafts of their brand-new novels. This year, I will be typing away with them.

For context: the goal of NaNoWriMo is not to have a polished novel by the end of November. Rather, each author tries to hit the benchmark of 50,000 words, which roughly translates to a 200 page draft. NaNoWriMo is all about contentgeneration. There is no room for perfectionism when you’re writing 1,667 words a day.

Yep, you read that right. In order to stay on track for my 50,000-word goal, I need to be writing 1,667 words per day — on top of my Furman coursework, social life and on-campus jobs. No problem, right?

I’m apprehensive, to say the least. I’ve been perusing some forums on the NaNoWriMo website, and not many of the participants are full-time college students. Most threads are full of NaNoWriMo pros, veteran novelists who have participated in NaNo for years.

I’m already stunned at the motivation and energy among all of these writers. As of Nov. 1, some of them already have 2,000 words. Compared to them, I am a total amateur, a baby novelist in the extreme. I write short fiction and poetry all the time, but I’ve never completed anything close to a novel-length manuscript.

Maybe that’s why I’m so hell-bent on participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo — I live for a good challenge. In several ways, writing a novel is the ultimate hurdle. It takes grit, perseverance and above all, time. I will likely be waking up early and staying up late to reach my word-count goals, so expect to see me stumbling around campus from lack of sleep.

As of today, my word count is, ahem, zero (though I have done some extensive planning!). Unfortunately, though, planning counts for nothing if my Word doc is blank. I need to get these words on the page.

I’m hoping to hold myself to my word count each week, but help is always appreciated. If you see me on campus, feel free to bother me about my novel — or even better, join me in writing your own! NaNoWriMo is an awesome opportunity if you want to draft a killer novel (or if you hate yourself enough to sacrifice all of your free time.)

Anyway, happy writing, and happy November. And wish me luck — 0 words down, 50,000 to go!

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