Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

The Creative Writers Guild and English Club kickoff NaNoWriMo

The English Club and the Creative Writer’s Guild will be holding a NaNoWriMo kickoff party on Oct. 28th in preparation for National Writing Month; all students are welcome to join.

NaNoWriMo, a phrase that haunts writers every November, refers to National Writing Month, an annual writing competition celebrating the art of writing and the social aspects of participating against and with other writers.

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1,700 written words a day. Could you do it?

November is National Novel Writing Month, and nanowrimo.org is challenging young writers all over the country to write a 50,000 word novel, about 175 pages, in 30 days. This year, Radford University’s English Club teamed up with the McConnell Library to sponsor a number of events to support writers who are up to the challenge.

NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing project that takes place over the Internet and is organized by a nonprofit organization called the Office of Letters and Light. Chris Baty, who lived in the San Francisco Bay area at the time, started it in July 1999.

Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The first event had 21 participants. The next year, the event was moved to November because Baty felt the writers would be happier to spend time indoors writing if the weather was more “miserable.” That same year, a friend of Baty created a website and Yahoo! group for the event and 140 people participated. Each year since, the number of participants has grown exponentially. In 2001, 5,000 people participated, and in 2010, over 200,000 people took the challenge, with participants writing more than 2 billion words.

In order to officially participate, writers had to first log on and create a short profile on the project’s website. After creating an account, the writers had access to resources available on the site. Participants also had the option to join writing groups and write-ins in their area by searching the site’s directory.

The challenge doesn’t have many rules, but the few it does have are important. Writers can start typing away at midnight Nov. 1, and the novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before 11:59:59 p.m. Nov. 30. Planning and notes by the writers are permitted, but no material written earlier than Nov. 1 is permitted in the body of the novel. In order to “win” NaNoWriMo, participants must write an average of 1,667 words a day to finish on time.

Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The site emphasizes a quantity over quality standpoint in this challenge. It doesn’t matter what gets written, as long as it gets written. They also highlight the fact that they do not expect the novels submitted to be edited or checked.

The official NaNoWriMo site does not store any novels. When writers submit a novel to the site, the word count is finalized and the novel is deleted immediately. If the participant reached 50,000 words, their profile will say so and they can access the winner’s rewards, but what they do with their novel at that point is up to them.

“The point of this challenge is to write; plain and simple,” OLL said in a “newbies” forum on the NaNoWriMo website. “Don’t under-estimate and don’t over-think. Don’t think at all: just write. Write until your fingers ache and you’re seeing double because in the end, you’ll have a beautiful thing. A novel, written by you.”

This year, Radford University is trying to get students involved. April Asbury is the faculty advisor for the English Club, which helped promote NaNoWriMo on campus this year, and she is also the municipal liaison for Virginia: Elsewhere, the region that includes Radford and the surrounding areas.

Photo by Brian Hollingsworth.

The events at RU were held in the library, and everything started with a kick-off party on Oct. 31, hosted by Lisa Vassady on behalf of McConnell Library. The party had refreshments and motivating words for the 20-25 attendees. Vassady explained the guidelines of the challenge and also shared past experiences.

“People dropped by throughout the event, which allowed us to mingle, answer questions and demonstrate the national website,” Asbury said. “What I found most exciting about the kick off was that it brought together Radford University students, faculty and staff and community members.”

Then, in the first three weeks of November three “write ins” were held in classroom B in the library. Each write in was two hours long and offered participants a quiet place to concentrate surrounded by other people with a common mindset.

“There’s something energizing about working side-by-side with other writers, even if you don’t have time to socialize,” Asbury said.

The final event will be held on Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. and is entitled, “The Thank God It’s Over Party.” Participants will be able to talk about their experiences over refreshments.

“People will be able to drop by and share their struggles and discoveries. Everyone is welcome to attend; even if people weren’t able to participate this time,” Asbury said. “They can always make plans for their own writing marathons and enjoy some coffee with us, too.”