As I sat at my desk—a deer in the headlights—I blinked confusedly as the faceless teacher bore down on me, trying to make sense of what she was saying. In a sandpaper voice that belied her 26 years, she’d caught me mid-flight and demanded an answer. Electricity ran down my back. I immediately started to avoid eye contact, looking at the plain walls with no decoration all around the room and hoping that she would not force a response. The loudly ticking clock seemed to mark not only the passage of time but also the dramatic increases in temperature. Suddenly, I heard my name being called. Fear rushed through me again, and I began to tremble. What would everyone think when I say that I don’t know. You’re stupid! Why don’t you pay attention? You’re hopeless! With that in mind, I whispered, “I do not know this NaNoWriMo.”
50,000 words. 30 Days. 1,667 words per day.
November 1, 2016 marked the 18th year of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This annual celebration is the largest writing event in the world - with an expected participation of nearly 500,000 people to start a 50,000-word novel, guided by this year’s theme: Your Novel, Your Universe.
Last year, NaNoWriMo boasted...
- 431,626 Participants
- 633 Regions
- 6 Continents
- 40,000+ participants who met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month
This year, not only can participants receive weekly inspirational messages and mentorship from well-known published authors, but also NaNoWriMo unveils a brand new website for its Young Writers Program (YWP). Students will be able to draft their novels and track their progress directly on the site as well as use the inspiring resources that are provided. In addition, teachers have access to virtual classroom spaces to facilitate the program, free Common Core-aligned curricula, student workbooks, classroom resources, and virtual classroom tools. Furthermore, NaNoWriMo sends out 2,500 free classroom kits each year to help teachers offline as well. Finally, with the help of local businesses, libraries, and community centers, 930 Municipal Liaisons will coordinate hundreds of local, in-person writing events throughout the world.
Up until a few few years ago, I’d never even heard of NaNoWriMo, but with those six words, I was awakened—understanding that help was available if only I was willing to ask for it. So whether you’re an aspiring writer or just looking for a outlet for your creativity...tell your story. Write your novel. Build your universe!
Wondering how to survive this challenge, now that you’re committed? Check out Trent Cannon’s advice.