Each November, writers across the globe take the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This year, Lubbock regional events were coordinated by an LCU alumna, and several writing events were hosted at the LCU Starbucks. A number of LCU students completed the challenge for the first time.
"I've wanted to be a writer for a while. I have a big imagination and tons of ideas for stories, but I've never really had any reason to actually sit down and write any of it. Then I heard about this NaNoWriMo thing, and I knew I had to jump on it," said sophomore English major, Aaron Roberts who participated in NaNo for the first time in 2015.
Beginning at midnight on Nov. 1, participants work to reach the 50,000 word goal before midnight of Dec. 1 through a daily average of 1,667 words.
Regional events with both writing and social focuses are held throughout the month to encourage productivity and promote support within writer community. This year, five writing events – called write-ins – were held at the LCU Starbucks on Dover Ave. Events were coordinated by Municipal Liaison for the Lubbock region and LCU alumna, Renee Rhodes (’15).
“NaNo is an incredibly rewarding process. The best part is seeing your story progressively come to life each day of the month. These characters that you’ve imagined start to breathe on the page, and the world of your novel is painted with your words. From there your story grows beyond your imagination, and the possibilities are endless,” said Rhodes. Rhodes has won NaNo each year since she began participating in 2011.
For several LCU students, their first year joining NaNo was also their first year succeeding. Christopher Biggerstaff, senior English major and first year NaNo participant, attended multiple events and finished his novel at 50,004 words on Nov. 24, with time to spare.
“I enjoyed NaNoWriMo because of the clearly defined deadline. There was a realistic goal, but I needed to rely on some self-discipline to achieve that goal. I took part in the process because it afforded me the opportunity to write in my own style. I was able to utilize skills I received during my time at LCU without the constraints of writing analytically or academically,” said Biggerstaff.
Additionally, LCU alumna, Sarah Lobley (’14) utilized the NaNo process in her 6th grade classroom.
“Students are learning how to plan ahead, how to create stories that others want to read, what makes a good plot, literary conventions, and how to listen to the 'what-ifs', the 'how dids', the 'I wishes', and the dreams that the world has taught them to ignore. Most importantly, they are learning that they are enough, that what they has to say is important,” said Lobley. Lobley has won NaNo three out of the five years she has participated.
Roberts overcame the ‘what-if’ when he, too, completed his NaNoWriMo project on Nov. 28 with a total of 54,465 words. This is his first completed novel draft. He plans to pursue self-publication after a few months of editing and reworking the draft.
"I started this journey as an attempt to just write something. I had never had a push to write anything like this before. As went through this month, I realized just how easily I could have been writing all along,” said Roberts. “I'm thankful for NaNoWriMo for helping me to finally start following my dream as a writer. I finally wrote my first novel this month, and I probably couldn't have done it without NaNoWriMo."