November Noveling


Sophia Kunkel , Contributor

Every November, thousands of writers across the globe participate in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to cross the 50,000-word finish line in only thirty days, with the help of a well-equipped website offering weekly pep talks from authors, a detailed tracking method for word count, and supportive writing forums.

Natalie Green, a creative writing teacher at the Seneca Valley Senior High School said, “…in the teaching community, Novel November is a teaching/planning strategy to get students to write more frequently and to write lengthier works. The idea of writing a novel seems insurmountable, especially to student writers, so the premise behind Novel November is that students write one scene at a time/one scene a day, every day, until the month is out.”

In our own area, there are several examples of this course curriculum used in the classroom.

“I liked it, but I don’t think I would do it again because it gets too stressful.” Senior Haylee Welsh Said. Welsh is a student at Freedom High School. She managed to reach 12,500 words in a shortened goal for her creative writing class.

Welsh’s story, featuring two main characters attempting to check off their bucket lists, was in the realistic fiction genre. “

“[NaNoWriMo] gives a good perspective on what it’s like to be an author,” Welsh said, since most novels range in length from 55,000-100,000 words.

NaNoWriMo does more than just challenge writers to attain the word count goal. The Municipal Liaison for Butler and Armstrong Counties, Samantha Shields, is in charge of hosting National Novel Writing Month events like virtual write-ins, handing out unique annual stickers, and keeping in touch with headquarters. She emphasizes the point that no matter what word count you finish with, “…you will have more words than you started with, more ideas than when you began, and more experience than you had November 1.”

Getting to 50k words is not really the true goal. The most important part of NaNoWriMo is actually sitting down to write and making progress on that novel draft, short story, or even series of poems you’ve been procrastinating on.