Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Nobody Actually Has Time to Write a Novel (But We Do It Anyway)

train-1November 1 kicked off the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the long-standing tradition in which writers and readers alike decide to write a novel (or 50,000 words at least) during the month of November. The idea isn’t to have a novel finished by December 1, but to have written enough of a first draft of a novel (or memoir or novella even) to build on during the next year, something to return to and tinker with at a more casual, realistic pace.

Writing at a bout 1600 words a day, writers might finish. Most don’t. I’ve only finished once, and I was a very sleepless college freshman, full of ideas and not much else. Now, I’m a graduate student in English. Now, I’m full of ideas and stress, and not much else. I have deadlines to meet, books to read, authors to research, research to catch up on, and workshop material to write. I have classes to teach and a full 13 credit hours of graduate coursework to focus on, as well as graduate applications and a brand new hip flask to make proper use of. Do I really want to add the pressure of a novel to that?

The answer, of course, is no. But I’m doing it anyway. I don’t expect to finish, even if I write during all of Thanksgiving break. Even when I inevitably don’t meet the standard 50,000 words, I’ll still have a novel draft to tinker with in 2017. Like many writers across the globe, I’m enjoying more ambition than I can justify having, and the companionship of fellow writers struggling near me.

So, to my fellow November-long novelists, I wish you luck and sudden bouts of free time. Say goodbye to your loved ones and the prospect of having clean dishes. It’s noveling season.



Yesterday marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, as well as No Shave November, but for now I’ll stick with manufacturing fictional characters and writing page after page about their exploits from a third-person perspective, exposing their private thoughts to a public audience. Even though it may seem like the sort of behavior for which people are sent to solitary confinement or given special medication, writing fiction is more a religious devotion than a hobby. As a devoted English Major, I participate in this yearly ritual. Like a monk, I lock myself up in a room for hours and hours, tormenting my psyche until I produce a sufficient amount of words. After that, I sleep for a few hours until the sun comes up, and I return to that room again for another day’s word count. It may result in mental anguish, but if I chalk it up to religion, I might find an afterlife in a dusty library with my fellow writers, occasionally resurrected when somebody opens up a book with my name on it and allows me to tell a story from the beyond the grave. Wish me luck.