Hard Work and Discipline Characterizes National Novel Writing Month

Courtesy of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Ave Chen, Staff Writer

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Everyone has written a story before, but imagine writing a really long one, and I mean long enough to be a book. Now imagine writing that book in only thirty days.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge beginning every year on November 1st, where participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. It can be a fun way to write, depending on personal interests.

Emily Van Dixhorn, ‘22, said “that balancing school work and writing would be the hardest thing” to manage for high school students who are a part of the challenge.

She also mentioned that she “is currently doing a NaNoWriMo young writers program where you can choose your word goal instead of writing all 50,000 words”.

Some students also have jobs, which reduces the amount of time someone has to write. Even though writing a novel in a month seems impossible, thousands of people do just that each November by participating in NaNoWriMo.

People all over the world partake in the challenge, according to an article written by Jerry Jerkins, who has published over 190 books. He states that, in 2015 alone, more than 430,000 writers or novelists, according to NaNoWriMo, finished their manuscripts.

According to Jerkins, the general “rule of thumb in book publishing is that an unsolicited manuscript has about a 1 in 1,000 chance of landing a traditional book deal.”

Out of all of the manuscripts written since the creation of the challenge in 1999, only 250 of them have been sold to traditional publishing houses and become actual books, meaning your chances of becoming a published writer with a manuscript from this challenge are slim.

If the goal is to publish a book with this challenge, this probably isn’t the right one to do so. NaNoWriMo is a chance to prove to yourself that you are capable of writing a manuscript and is great practice for aspiring writers to work with a deadline. Anyone can write a book in a month with a little bit of commitment and creativity, but the quality of the manuscript? It depends.

Krista Hitchcock, one of the Writing Center coordinators, mentioned that it is okay for writing to be messy. She also stated that carving time for yourself to write everyday and making a commitment to your work is really important. Something else that could be helpful is having a group of people that you can write with and rely on for help.

“Don’t be hard on yourself […] some days you’re going to be more productive and feel better with yourself on what you produce than with other days. That’s okay […] the famous authors of the world didn’t write a perfect draft every time they sat down,” said Hitchcock.

NaNoWriMo might not be the best way to write a book. Writing a full book takes a lot of time and patience, but accepting and attempting the challenge can prove how capable you really are.

 

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