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November as a Writer

If you’re a writer, are friends with a writer, or living with a Creative Writing major, you’ve probably heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Or NaNo. We really like abbreviations. If you’ve never heard of NaNo, but you’ve always dreamed of writing a book, you should definitely check it out. It’s not too late to join: nanowrimo.org. The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in a month, around 200 pages, the minimum length for a novel (though most novels are around 70,000 words or more, so if you want to try and sell an agent on your novel, you’ll have a bit more writing to do after the month’s up; not to mention a lot of editing). That comes out to 1,667 words a day, or around 6 to 7 pages a day. If that seems like a lot, that’s because it is.

NaNo brings an added chaos to November that’s hard to find anywhere else. The collegiate who attempts NaNo is going to have a very different November than anyone else. Good, yes. But very different.

Last Week of October

Everyone keeps commenting how they can’t believe it’s almost November. We writers can’t believe it’s almost NaNo. We also can’t believe we haven’t started plotting our novels yet. Some of us will stick our butts in the chair and get an outline ready. Some of us will simply laugh and say we don’t need an outline (we’re usually lying to ourselves).


Everyone else is out at parties, trick or treating, or watching a scary movie. We’re home in our PJs watching the clock click closer and closer to midnight, and watching the earlier time zones start their NaNo’s.

12:01 AM, November 1st

GO GO GO!!! If we’re going to finish a novel in a month, we only have 43,200 minutes to write it in. That means we need to average over a word a minute for the entire month; on top of school and sorority and friends and our twelve different clubs. (Sleep is optional). Not a minute to waste!!

Week One

“We’re soarin’ we’re flying.” Life’s great. The words are flowing from our fingers, we’re ahead of our word count, and we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking the homework we’re saying we’ll do later is actually going to get done. We’ve written more than par every day this week and we’ve even managed to go to a few social events. We’ve discovered magic: we can do everything. We’re basically superheroes.

Week Two

Our word count keeps dropping closer and closer to the par line. Everyone else seems to be having a better time than us: their novels are better, their word counts are higher, and their homework’s done. We smashed our faces into our keyboards in frustration and then didn’t delete the “afdsjahds” left behind because it counts as a word. We’re beginning to rant in our chapter titles and cut out apostrophes as we inch slowly closer to 25,000 words: the halfway point. We’re secretly writing under the desk in everything: class, chapter meetings, dinner. 

Week Three

Yes, we’re wearing the same outfit as yesterday. Please stop pointing that out. No, we don’t have our homework. We didn’t do the reading. We don’t know any answers to the quiz questions, not even the line in the upper left that said: “Name.” The only question we can answer for you at this point is our word count, which will determine how the rest of the week is going to go for us. We’re living for Thanksgiving break because we think we’ll finally have time to catch up on everything. (We won’t, but it’s nice to think we will).


We finally have the chance to come up for air, and we realize nothing in our novel makes sense. We threw our outline out the window two weeks ago, and we have a sneaking suspicion one of our characters changed names around the 30,000-word mark, but we don’t have time to check. Our parents are confused as to how we have so much homework over break. We don’t have the heart to tell them it’s not homework, it’s NaNo, and we thought this would be fun. We spend break wrapped around our laptops (our arms are permanently molded to the keyboard), only coming out for food. We’re almost there. We can taste victory. It tastes almost as good as the apple pie we’re shoveling into our mouths as we type. 

11:59 PM, November 30th

We did it. We survived NaNo. Our novel’s a mess, our life’s probably a mess, and we haven’t done laundry all month but we wrote an entire book and we’re pretty proud.


December 1st 

*sleeps for a week*

*wakes up and remembers finals are coming up*


*goes back to sleep*

Happy NaNo Everyone!

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