By Victoria Alagna, Staff Writer
National Novel Writing Month, or more commonly known as NaNoWriMo, starts up again as the month of November begins.
NaNoWriMo takes place from the start of the month, November 1st until the end of the month, November 30th. The general idea of NaNoWriMo is to plan out a novel that can be written within the month of November. The criteria is simple: write 50,000 words in a 30 day period.
Elise Musicant, a creative writing major at UMF had a different approach on NaNoWriMo when a high school teacher of hers mentioned it; she decided to do it that year and every year since. This is her fifth year doing NaNoWriMo.
There is a NaNoWriMo website (http://nanowrimo.org) where writers can go and upload their story progress and receive feedback to help them along the steadfast progress of finishing a novel in one month. Musicant describes the website as a sort of community. “They’re [other writers] there to motivate each other. There’s a whole website that you can come together, there’s a procrastination station where you can all just talk about how you’re novel’s not coming along,” said Musicant. “But it’s all basically a big community of writers that’s all inspiring each other to write a novel.”
The task of writing a novel in a one-month period may seem difficult, but is often taken very seriously. UMF graduate of Creative Writing Adam Chabot finds the structure and time from of NaNoWriMo to be both helpful and challenging. “It’s easier because you simply have to create content; the idea is that your content doesn’t have to be flawless by any stretch of the imagination. I would also say it’s easier because you’re essentially a part of this worldwide community that’s also going through the same process you are going through. It helps when you’re not the only one writing,” said Chabot. “It’s however also harder. The timeframe creates a lot of pressure. If you miss one day of writing, you can fall behind very quickly. The proper pace is about 1800 words a day; that’s a lot to make up.”
The timeframe of NaNoWriMo may be a strict, but when it’s over, when the final word has been written, the feeling of accomplishment is enough to make up for everything. “The first reaction I have is disbelief. I’ve been working so hard all month, and the result is anticlimactic,” said Musicant. “All you do is submit a word count, hit enter, and it’s over. Then I’m just flooded with relief and excitement as I realize that I did it, that I finished 50,000 words. Then I walk around in a high all day, and take the giddiness with me everywhere I go.”
Not only is there a sense of pride and accomplishment, but also there can be something very rewarding in writing a novel in 30 days. “I self-published the first NaNoWriMo novel I wrote in 2006,” said Chobat. “I finished the 50,000 words in November but then continued on writing. The final manuscript was about 98,000 words, which was pretty cool. What was even better was that after I self-published, I sold about 400 copies at a local bookstore in my hometown of Gorham, NH. The book is still listed on Amazon. The novel is titled, Fear the Day, and although looking back at it, I’m kind of embarrassed at the quality of [the] book, I’m proud of what I accomplished.”