Annual program spurs participants into literary frenzy

By Kyra Smith-Cullen
A&E Editor

Aspiring novelists take to their computers on November 1, hoping to write a 50 thousand word book in the span of 30 days as part of a global program.

The event is called National Novel Writing Month, also known as Nano or NaNoWriMo, and is entering year 13 of what it calls ‘writing frenzy’. Though it started small in 1991 with just 21 participants, it has grown tremendously each year. In 2011, there were over 250,000 writers who joined and the number is growing this year.

Participants, often called ‘Nanoers’, hail from all regions of the globe, but many of them are located in the United States. In some cases, they are able to meet other writers in their area and are encouraged to do so. Upon signing up for the program, participants are asked to find their home region and visit that topic on the forums. The Williamsport region, one of the closest to the Lock Haven campus, has 294 members and hosts meetings throughout the month of November, a way for writers to share story ideas, successes and problems. If participants can’t meet up with other Nanoers in person, the forums also offer a sense of community and a place where writers can go to pick each other’s brains.

Because Nano has no age requirement, participants have the opportunity to find others in their peer group. For example, it is not uncommon to find writers who are trying to balance the stress of college with the frenzy that comes with trying to write approximately 16 thousand words per day.

There is no punishment for failing to write the minimum of 50 thousand words, but there are companies who offer discounts to those who participate and further rewards for the winners – those who reach the goal. In the past, winners have received coupons for free copies of their novel from a company that produces self-published works. There is no win or lose, just the pride that the writer feels knowing that they’ve done something to help themselves grow.

For more information on National Novel Writing Month experience and how you sign up, email the reporter at ksmithcu@lhup.edu

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