A Writing Adventure


Alicia Ho, Web Editor

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month in which almost 300,000 authors are participating this year. These writers include some of Dougherty Valley’s very own students who are writing an entire novel in thirty days! Yep, that’s right. Solely in the month of November, authors across the entire country are embarking on a month-long endeavor to write 50,000 words, or the equivalent of a 175-page-long novel. That means writing at a rate of 1,667 words per day!

Ms. Pike, the DVHS librarian, encourages students to partake in the excitement that is NaNoWriMo; she knows firsthand how exhilarating NaNo can be, this being her third NaNoWriMo venture. She writes alongside student NaNo-ers during afterschool write-ins in the library, where the writers share brain fuel, including both snacks and ideas. Ms. Pike enjoys seeing writers at Dougherty participate in NaNoWriMo because “when students write a novel in a month, it’s awesome.” She particularly relishes write-ins because she believes that “there needs to be a little writing corner in the world for writing nerds like us.”

The intensity of all that writing within a single month encourages NaNo-ers to remove themselves from the strain and pressure of school and other stress factors to keep up with the word count and use writing as a creative outlet to experiment. The slogan “Quantity over Quality” characterizes NaNoWriMo, permitting writers to just start writing without a plan. Junior Elise Pohlhammer, a 2012 NaNoWriMo winner, agrees, “NaNo is just a time for me to sit down and see what my brain can come up with.” She also finds NaNo “something you can be a part of, and be proud that you’re a part of.”

Writing at least 1,667 words per day is no facile task, but the reward far outweighs the hardships. Junior Jessica Chipley, also a 2012 NaNoWriMo winner, explains, “NaNo has its ups and downs and you really have to roll with the punches of your imagination. Your muse has its own mind and can throw curveballs at you. When you can find a way to coexist with your muse, you’ll be able to write something truly special.” NaNoWriMo is worthwhile in the sense that it’s an incredible experience that writers can triumphantly emerge from wielding a novel of their own creation as a beautiful, shining trophy.