While it may take some writers years to compose a full-length novel, one group asks would-be authors to churn one out in a month.
Nov. 1 marked the first day of the National Novel Writing Month, an international event where writers stare at a blank computer screen while trying to complete a 50,000-word novel within the designated 30 days.
Kathy Kitts, one of the local organizers, said more than 200,000 writers across the world are expected to participate, making this year’s NaNoWriMo the biggest yet. She said it’s crucial to surround yourself with supportive people through the grueling process.
“It doesn’t make a difference if you’re Stephen King or if you’ve never written anything in your life,” she said. “You tell the world, ‘I’m going to do this.’ You find like-minded people who want to do the same thing and have just as busy of a life as you do.”
Tiffany Tackett, NaNoWriMo’s unofficial representative, said the challenge isn’t impossible for students.
“I have gotten the great satisfaction of knowing that not only can I work a job, do housework, go to class, and prepare for finals during the month of November, but I can also pound out an entire novel, while all that other stuff is still going on,” she said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Jim Schnedar, a five-year NaNoWriMo participant, said the contest is about quantity, not quality.
“Every writer has that critic on their shoulder that it’s never good enough, that you have to rewrite that sentence,” he said. “This just gets the story out at 50,000 words, and then you can go back and start to look at it. It’s just a way to get a story out, so more stories that come out, the more stories can come in.”