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NaNoWriMo: A writers endurance race

By Ashleigh Stingley

You are only given one month to write 50,000 words of a story you create. Can you do it?

National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo, challenges writers every year. Several students at Waldorf are excited to get in on the action this year. Despite their class load, they will try to make the goal of NaNoWriMo by the end of the month.

NaNoWriMo started in July 1999. Back then it was only open to a small group in the San Francisco Bay area. Despite the small number of participants the first year, with a few changes, the event began to grow. With the addition of online involvement the second year NaNoWriMo became a big activity for, not just writers in the United States, but writers around the world.

Today, NaNoWriMo is going onto it’s 16th year and continues to gain popularity. According to the NaNoWriMo’s website, in 2010 there were at least 200,000 participants.

Within the month of November, the participants must write a full fiction story totaling at least 50,000 words. This roughly averages out to six pages a day. All participants in the event can either be professional or non-professional writers, as long as they are just writing.

Student Myriah Hacker is sort of a veteran entering this year, as she has participated in NaNoWriMo before.

“Honestly, it’s a lot of late nights and early mornings,” said Hacker. “NaNoWriMo is one of the most beneficial things I’ve done as a writer, but also the most difficult. The stress can be really intense, especially when you get around that halfway mark. I mean, you’ve made the commitment and you’ve come so far that you don’t want to throw all of your 4 a.m. coffee-fueled mornings away, but that’s usually when the writer’s block sets in, and it can be really hard to push yourself.”

Hacker finds inspiration in the people around here and from everyday situations. “Paying attention to the little details of normal life turns the ordinary into the extraordinary,” Hacker said.

For another student, Elizabeth Peters, this is the first year she is participating in NaNoWriMo. Despite only being a few days in, she is already stressed about balancing writing her story and her class work. However, she’s really excited about putting her story together.

“I never know when I will become inspired to write a new story,” said Peters. “Sometimes I just come up with idea’s because I have to and sometimes the idea just pops into my head. I can also hold onto my ideas for years and the idea won’t go away until I start writing.”

Both girls, for creative reasons, have declined to tell us what their stories will be about. But needless to say, it’ll be fun to see them published if they choose to do so after NaNoWriMo ends.

Participants are encouraged to sign-up on the official site to help track their progress and get help if they experience writers block.

If you’d still like to be a part of the action, feel free to check out to get started.