National Novel Writing Month

image courtesy CBC

image courtesy CBC

By Olivia Robinson

Tonight at midnight, I will begin furiously typing the first draft of a novel. It will not be anything spectacular, but hopefully by the end of the month, it will exist. Luckily, my courses are not too busy this semester, so I am optimistic about having enough time to complete the endeavor.

So why am I doing this? Well, November is National Novel Writing Month, during which writers from all around the world come together through this online community and pledge to write a 50,000 word novel (approximately 130 pages), in 30 days. That works out to approximately 1666 words a day, which is the equivalent of a four or five page paper. Yes, I realize this sounds crazy.

I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2010 while I was still in high school. I had been writing for fun for most of my life, but I was always looking for ways to get inspired, so I decided to take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo. Since my birthday is at the end of November, I decided that I would finish the first draft of my novel by November 25th, which happened to be my 18th birthday.

I achieved my goal and finished with just over 50,000 words at around 11 pm on November 25th. It was the biggest writing accomplishment I had completed to date, so I was very happy. I then proceeded to save the draft on my computer, printed off one copy, put it in my desk drawer, and never looked at it again. To this day, I have yet to revisit that first draft, mostly because it is complete crap. But just knowing that it exists is comforting.

That is what NaNoWriMo is all about, the feeling of creating something unique all by yourself and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with that creation. Even though the end product may be crap, you wrote it and you didn’t give up. At the end of November, that is all that matters.

A lot of talented writers complete NaNoWriMo, and some of them have success with the drafts they write during November. But most of us just do it for fun, as a form of practice so to speak. So over the next month, if you see me walking around campus looking like a zombie, double fisting coffee, you will know why.

To anyone at UPEI who is also doing NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to email me and check out my profile (Olivia84) on the NaNoWriMo website. Remember, “the world needs your novel”!

Happy Writing!

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