National Novel Writing Month inspires all writers to participate

Regan Byrnes, Web Editor

The weather turns colder and leaves fall, November begins — writers around the world grab a pen and paper and start their journey through National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo invites all authors to write every single day in November, and overall compose 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Junior and writer Tess Vanberg explains what NaNoWriMo means to her.

“For me, NaNoWriMo is just a time of creativity and exploring that side of myself,” Vanberg said. “It’s a great opportunity to dive into writing more and experiment.”

Reflecting, Vanberg likes that authors have NaNoWriMo to express creativity through a positive online community and share their work. She believes it helps the participants to reach their objective.

“It definitely was a motivator because you hold yourself to this obligation to sit down and write every day, even when it’s really hard — you still have that motivation to do it.” Vanberg said. “You want to succeed in it — that’s your goal. It’s good to set a goal [because] it’s really hard to stay focused and stay productive if you don’t have one. Following other people’s success stories is really a good motivator.”

Even though Vanberg believes NaNoWriMo is very beneficial to novelists and helps inspire them, she believes certain points can feel overwhelming and stressful to complete the 50,000-word goal at the end of the month.

“It’s stressful to sit down and write every day, but it’s a really good way to get your creativity flowing because every day you have to come up with something new in order to keep you engaged,” Vanberg said. “Whether it’s making changes to a scene or changing your plot a little bit, or tweaking your characters — sometimes [it’s] not even sitting down and writing but getting in touch with your characters and starting to understand them.”

Though Vanberg thinks through this process, the steep goal set in NaNoWriMo

helps improve writing and makes authors feel more confident because of the constant thought and effort put into the journey.

“​​Like any skill, you need to work at it in order to improve, so working every day definitely helps,” Vanberg said. “You’ll get in holes where it sucks and you feel like everything you write is garbage. You just want to delete everything, but if you just leave it and keep going and then you go back [and] look at it, you can see how much you’ve improved from those little dips. It’s like a roller coaster — ups and downs — but it helps in the long run.”

Vanberg has participated in NaNoWriMo since 2018 and has since then produced half of her novel that she is writing and is now considering entering into the Scholastic National Art Awards.

“It’s a national-level competition, where people in high school can submit their art, whether it’s drawing, photography, sculpture, jewelry, metalsmithing and writing,” she said. “There’s so many different categories for writing. There’s a novel section where you submit a 3,000-word excerpt of a novel.”

Vanberg is debating entering an excerpt from her novel in progress or a few pictures containing photography, which she does in her free time. She is considering submitting both pieces because it gives her more scholarship opportunities.

“They have judges that will read or view your work,” she said. “You [can] get either, the highest level, [which] is a gold award, and they have a silver award. You can get scholarships from it if you place well enough, so it’s really a great opportunity to get your work out there.”