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Library to Host NaNoWriMo Write-ins

Alicia Ho, Copy Editor & Web Editor

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30 days. 50,000 words. An indiscernible amount of snacks. NaNoWriMo is coming to DVHS once more! Beginning in November, Ms. Pike will be holding after-school write-ins in the library conference room at least twice a week for DVHS NaNoWriMo participants.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, in which writers across the nation embark on the adventure to write their own novel in 30 days. The official NaNoWriMo website, nanowrimo.org, describes the endeavor as “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. Valuing enthusiasm, determination and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.”

For NaNoWriMo participants, November becomes a month of expressing their ideas, regardless of quality.

It’s all about quantity, not quality. Chris Baty, one of the founders of NaNoWriMo, suggests, “Today’s tangents will become tomorrow’s arcs, and unforeseen connections will tie up your loose ends in a way that will make you want to slap your head and holler at your accidental brilliance.”

Many people say they’d like to write a novel some day, but the problem is that that day never arrives. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to make that happen. Throughout the month, published authors send NaNoWriMo writers pep talks in letter form, encouraging and inspiring participants to chip away at their writer’s block to reach their goal word count, because, as Baty believes, “there’s a book in you that only you can write.”

DVHS’ experienced participants, dubbed “NaNo-ers”, had some encouraging words to offer those who are considering joining the venture.

“For a month, it’s this culture of creativity and writing and food/sleeplessness/plot-holes-huge-enough-to-sink-a-ship-in that makes you feel like you’re really an ‘author’,” says 2012 winner Elise Pohlhammer, “I’ve been excited for NaNo since December 1 of last year.”

What makes the experience so enjoyable is largely due to the school write-ins Ms. Pike hosts. Stocked with snacks, prizes and encouragement, the library becomes a place of motivation and creativity.

“When we’re writing together we are sometimes not as productive, but the energy is great … Everyone is so clever and creative and it’s just inspiring,” said Ms. Pike.

NaNoWriMo veteran Emma Bekele appreciates the support that writing as a group provides.

“Everyone has amazing input and can help you out when you get stuck,” she commented.

Pohlhammer added, “You’re with other people who, like you, want to write a novel and see their world come to life. It’s inspiration, and you don’t feel so alone in your quest to create something for the world to enjoy.”

To get a feel of what it’s like writing as a group, join Ms. Pike’s NaNoWriMo brainstorming and planning session at the end of October.

Whether you write every time you get the chance to, or haven’t written anything that wasn’t for a school assignment, NaNoWriMo is a sublime opportunity for writers in all capacities.

“The beauty of NaNo is that no one can tell you how to write. It’s the most enlightening, freeing, beautiful feeling ever,” asserted Pohlhammer.

If you’re interested in joining NaNoWriMo at DVHS, see Ms. Pike in the library for more information.  All participants will also earn a spot on the NaNoWriMo library display in November!

“The world needs your novel,” Angotti stated. “Your story matters.”

If you’re still on the fence about joining NaNoWriMo, full testimonies from past participants can be found on thewildcattribune.com. In the wise words of Ms. Pike, “You’ll never know if you can do it until you try. Why not try?”

 

Full Testimonies:

1) What is your favorite part of doing NaNo at school?

2) Why should DVHS students do NaNo this year?

3) What can people expect from doing NaNo at DVHS?

4) Is there anything else you’d like to add, or something you think I should include?

Ms Pike:

1) I LOVE the creativity students have. Everyone is so clever and creative and it’s just inspiring.

2) It’s a HUGE accomplishment if you write 50,000 words in one month. Very few people ever get to claim that goal.

3) While there is a great online community for NaNo-ers, it’s fun to write together, too. When we’re writing together we are sometimes not as productive, but the energy is great. It’s so nice to be able to exclaim “I’m stuck! Help!” and have a room full of people share suggestions. It really helps with writers block.

4) You’ll never know if you can do it until you try. Why not try?

 

Emma Bekele:

1) The best part of NaNo is being able to share the experience with a group of people all trying to achieve the same goal.

 

2) I am planning to do NaNo this year because it’s so exciting and it provides an excuse to spend a month writing while during other months there’s always something “more important” to do.

 

3) Writing as a group in the library helps motivate me. You can’t slack off while you’re in a big group like that! Plus, everyone has amazing input and can help you out when you get stuck.

 

4) Students should join DVHS NaNo to have a chance to sit down and write that novel they’ve always wanted to with a group of people who are all doing the same. It makes the process a lot more fun than just working alone.

 

Elise Pohlhammer:

1) The best part of NaNoWriMo is getting the chance to just sit down and write. Every other month of the year there’s always something else I “need” to do before I write, and as a result I never actually reach the “writing” that’s usually hunkered down around number 20 on my “To-Do” list. NaNoWriMo automatically puts writing at the top of your list, and to rearrange your life to accommodate that, if only for a few weeks, is strangely exhilarating. The meetings mean that you’re spending 2-3 days a week with people who are just as dedicated to writing and NaNo as you are, and you have this support group where it’s not “bad” to put writing first. When you’re around people who support you and your goal of writing a novel or 40,000 words or whatever you’re aiming for, you don’t feel like a lonely little person trying to write a book when the rest of the world is tell you that you should be doing more “productive” things. For a month, it’s this culture of creativity and writing and food/sleepnessless/plot-holes-huge-enough-to-sink-a-ship-in that makes you feel like you’re really an “author”.

2) Unless the world explodes, of course I’m planning to do NaNo this year! I’ve been excited for NaNo since December 1 of last year. And for those of you who think that you have too many academic commitments, trust me, it’s amazing how much faster you get through those homework assignments when you’re looking forward to continue with your novel! Especially with college everything coming up in that month, it’s going to give me that chance to escape, and I think everyone deserves that opportunity, no matter how impossible the logistics may seem.

3) If you were to ask my word count, the afterschool meetings are awful. But creatively, emotionally and writer-ally, they are literally the best thing about NaNoWriMo. You eat food, discuss your plans for your next scene (or lack thereof), throw around name ideas, talk about school, debate the color of the car in your story, and maybe write a little. What you get out of the meetings in terms of your spirit and enthusiasm and creativity is beyond measurable. You’re with other people who, like you, want to write a novel and see their world come to life. It’s inspiration, and you don’t feel so alone in your quest to create something for the world to enjoy.

4) For eleven months out of the year, we do things, in essence, because other people want us to: homework, long sports practices, SAT prep, etc. The beauty of NaNo is that no one can tell you how to write. It’s the most enlightening, freeing, beautiful feeling ever. I hope you can join us.

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Library to Host NaNoWriMo Write-ins