The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

71° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    National Novel Writing Month starts this week


    Not a single person lacks a story to tell, whether or not the story is true. This month, everyone has a chance to let their inner writer out.

    National Novel Writing Month, called “NaNoWriMo” by coordinators and participants, offers everyone a reason to write: put together a 50,000-word novel before Nov. 30 at midnight. The prize: the title of novelist and the coordinators will even print and bind a copy of the completed work. It’s simple, but the idea has spread to hundreds of thousands of people nationwide.

    NaNoWriMo began in July of 1999 when a group of 21 “twenty-somethings” in the San Francisco Bay area challenged themselves with the same idea, according to the group’s website. The site compares the original event to starting a band, with reasons like “nothing better to do,” and getting more dates.

    The motives vary, but the principle is just about the same 13 years later. Though the ultimate motivating point is to reach the 50,000 goal, the true merit in this literary frenzy is the finished product and getting to know oneself as a writer.

    “I’ve been wanting to write a novel for a long time and I thought this was a good opportunity for that little push to work on it,” said Hope Anderson, a Ph.D. candidate studying second language acquisition and teaching. This is Anderson’s first time participating.

    “It’s about trying something new … for people who have wanted to [write a novel] who haven’t had the push to do it before,” she said.

    Anderson said she plans to make a novel out of an idea she’s had in mind since she was 14, already armed with characters and potential plot lines. She said she’s having trouble with her plot, but the already tight-knit community gives her all the help she needs.

    “The local group has a lot of fun,” she said. “You really don’t feel like you’re on your own.”

    Each city has multiple groups that meet in cafes and restaurants, where participants can bounce ideas off each other and help with writing techniques. And because NaNoWriMo is centered on the website, where all of the novels are entered for an accurate word count, the contestants don’t even need to leave the comfort of their homes for advice.

    With more than 250,000 participants last year, 13 years of organized events and a website community where every single writer can connect, you’d be hard-pressed to feel isolated in NaNoWriMo.

    Last year more than 30,000 participants managed to reach the 50,000-word hall of fame. This year, so can you.

    Follow us on Twitter @wildcatarts and follow Greg @Philoboarder43

    More to Discover
    Activate Search