National November Writing Month

(Image via

(Image via

By Chandler Walter, Editor-in-Chief


With the passing of Halloween comes a rather divisive month: November. Many hate it, some like it, though most of the time it remains unmentioned until, you know, we’re actually living in it.

Being the unloved middle-child between turkey and treat-filled October and infamously-loved December, there have been a few initiatives that have sprung up to give “No-Fun November” a bit of life.

Movember gives men a reason to sport a moustache the full month through in the name of supporting men’s health, and, believe me, that Lettitor will be coming shortly. What I’ll actually be droning on about in this week’s issue is another, less furry facet of the eleventh month: National November Writing Month (which I totally gave away in the title of this Lettitor, but whatever).

National November Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, when you’re not trying to make word count) is an event that encourages writers to pen a novel throughout November, and has been at it since 1999. According to the website, nearly 385,000 people completed a novel in November 2016, writing down 50,000 words over the course of 30 days—working out to roughly 1,666 words a day.

The premise is simple: Write every day, and, if you make word count consistently, you’ll end up with a novel-length story by December 1.

There’s no guarantee it will be any good, of course, but it will be something to work with in the following months if you choose to reread, edit, and potentially publish the story you created.

I’ve been a successful participant for one November (I think it was around 2013), and an incredibly unsuccessful participant in the Novembers ever since.

The first, and only, year I reached the elusive 50,000 words happened at a time in my life when I was working part time and taking a year off between high school and college (meaning I actually had some free time on my hands). I managed to throw together a story about a group of aliens landing on Earth titled Just Visiting, and it was much worse than however bad you’re already assuming it to be.

While I’m not proud of the final product, I am proud of knowing that I am capable of writing that many words in a (somewhat) coherent structure.

Since then I’ve tried to participate in NaNoWriMo in November whenever it rolls around again, and each time I fail even more spectacularly than I did the year before. It feels good to try, though. To sit down and just write whatever ridiculous conversations, plotlines, or characters pop into my head, and I wish I had the ability to legitimately put time aside to write in that carefree way, not just in November, but every day of the year.

This year I made it to 4,000 words before falling behind and realizing that nothing but a marathon weekend would catch me back up, and I’m already expected to write these 400-600 word Lettitors for you all every Sunday, so really, where would I find the time?

Or at least that’s what I tell myself, anyway. You know as well as I do that the time is there, it’s just about actually making the most of it.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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