Manual students participate in National Novel Writing Month

Starting this month, several students at duPont Manual will officially kick off their creative writing projects for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual event in which thousands of participants around the world attempt to write their own novel in 30 days.

According to their website, the nonprofit organization that sponsors this event states that their mission is to provide “a structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”

Users can set their own personal word counts.

Kaelyn Harris (12, J&C) talked about personal experience with the event.

“A writer will set a goal and maybe they want to write an entire novel, maybe they only want to do sixty thousand words,” Harris said.

“It’s a community of writers encouraging each other to write. I’m going to go for 60,000 words as a benchmark, but if I go over that, that’s fantastic,” Harris said.

On the website, participants can give their novel a title and log their word count. Starting Nov. 20, they can paste the full text of their novel into their word-counter validator to see if they met their personal word count goal and win validation for their project. Once they win validation, they can earn badges for participation, writing, and personal achievement.

Additionally, participants can choose a home region to get updates on local events from their volunteer Municipal Liaison. These home regions are where they can find a community of writers living in their region. There are also online and offline resources to help people get started with their novels and stay motivated throughout the entire 30-day period.

The official logo for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org).

While writing a personal novel seems like a daunting task to most people, especially on top of schoolwork and other commitments, there are some Manual students that are looking forward for this chance to express themselves creatively for various reasons.

“Last time I did it was as a freshman, I originally decided to do it because a lot of my online friends were talking about it,” Harris said.

Bailey Pierce (11, YPAS) gave a different reason for participating.

“I’m going to shoot for 15,000 words, I know I have to start writing college essays for next year and I definitely want to brush up on my skills,” Pierce said, “But also, I just really like to write; I’ve actually published a poem before and I just love storytelling–it’s one of my favorite things to do.”

Harris said that she prepared by planning out her novel beforehand.

“I’ve been rush planning my plot and world-building, trying to get this novel in shape,” Harris said.

She also gave some tips for someone who’s doing NaNoWriMo for the first time.

“Don’t think too hard about it because my first time, I used the ‘pantsing’ method – or just writing by the seat of your pants,” Harris said, “You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know what direction you’re going in, just enjoy it, don’t worry about writing thousands of words a day.”

In order to stay motivated, Pierce said that she thinks about what the end result would be.

“One day, I’m going to have my own book so whenever I feel like I’m slacking, I’ve got to keep going.”

To meet the word count goal within a month, Harris said to just make time for it.

“If you have an hour on the bus, that’s writing time,” Harris said, “If you’re still wide awake and not tired yet, that’s writing time.”

Once the month of November is over, many NaNoWriMo participants such as Pierce, have greater plans for their finished projects.

“I’m definitely going to try to publish it,” Pierce said, “I’m not sure if I would go through a publisher or if I would self-publish it, I know a couple people [self-publish] through Amazon or something like that, I want people to read it.”

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Annie Zhang is a staffer on RedEye this year. When she’s not writing, she enjoys traveling, long road trips, reading, spending time with her family, and trying out new restaurants around Louisville. She is also passionate about social advocacy. You can contact her at [email protected]

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