Be in the Know of NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is a worldwide event, also known as NaNoWriMo. When anyone can try to write 50,000 words or a novel in the span of month of November. Panther Creek’s Creative Writing Club had made it school wide event by encouraging many of its club members to participate.

According to, NaNoWriMo was founded by Chris Baty in 1999 and started with only twenty-one participants. Now, it is a worldwide writeathon and has grown to over 500,000 participants. The goal of NaNoWriMo is for each participant to write 50,000 words in the thirty days of November to win; it is recommended by the NaNoWriMo official website to write about 1600 words a day to keep up with the goal. 

Even with the cramped schedule and homework, many Panther Creek students have decided to take up the challenge. 

“I’m doing NaNoWriMo again partially because it’s almost like a fun thing to do with everyone else doing it around me, but I also wanted the challenge,” Lucy Koger, a junior, states. “…I have a lot of trouble losing motivation toward the end, so this is kind of my attempt to really see a project through all the way.” 

Koger’s project is a high-fantasy story that features magic and dragons, and it is her first official NaNoWriMo she is participating in.

Additionally, Creative Writing Club president, senior Rachel Donnan says, “I feel like it’s a really great opportunity [to] challenge myself as a writer, especially someone who has trouble getting started; I think it’s a great way to push through writer’s block.” 

Donnan’s project is to write a short story every two days; it is her first official NaNoWriMo as well. 

However, not all of Panther Creek’s writers are first-timers.

NaNoWriMo veteran Nitya Budamagunta, a junior, has participated in NaNoWriMo and its summer branch, Camp NaNoWriMo, around five times in total. She has racked up some tips to help out newbies for the event. 

“Do not edit, just don’t look back at your work, don’t criticize anything,” Nitya Budamagunta warns. “Just keep writing or else you will regret it, and don’t stop.” 

Budamagunta’s project is entitled The Kingdom of Irdris, and is a high-fantasy novel with a medieval setting. 

Tess Janisch, also a junior and two-time NaNoWriMo participant, adds, “Keep on writing no matter how much you dislike your work, you just have to keep going and keep pushing through what you have to do.” 

High school students, past and present, make up a small percentage of the world population partaking in the challenge. Participants range from amateur writers to well-known, published authors. According to, two of them include Rainbow Rowell, whose project was Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer, author of the The Lunar Chronicles series. Both are bestsellers in the YA genre. 

Younger authors are not excluded from this writeathon. NaNoWriMo has a separate branch called the Young Writers Program, and according to its website, it is meant for authors who are under thirteen. They are able to set their own word count in November and go at their own pace; the event also extends all year so the writer can make new goals. 

Though NaNoWriMo and its programs sounds quite grueling to the average person, there are a number of great rewards to be won. If a writer reaches their goal, they will receive a printable certificate and opportunities from sponsors such as the ability to self-publish and discounts for apps designed for authors. 

Now toward the end of November, Panther Creek students will continue to push through with their novels and work hard to reach the 50,000 word goal. After all, to win, one must keep writing, even when it’s the hardest thing in the world. 

Neil Gaiman, a New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter critically acclaimed for his dark yet humorous fantasy once said, “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”