Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Why you should write a novel (and fail) in college

Jalynn is a junior Communication Studies major with an interest in social media, PR, and design. She loves to read YA novels and occasionally writes mediocre fiction – she’s working on the mediocre part.  Want to connect?

by Jalynn Madison

I’ve known I’ve wanted to write since the 5th grade – the same year I fell in love with books. I loved how words on a page could make me feel so many things at once. Sometimes I was sad, surprised, or angry. But no matter what I felt while I was reading, I was always hungry for more by the end. I decided at the age of 10 that I wanted to have a command over words so powerful that I could make people feel the way I always felt when reading a book.

And so began my journey of writing.

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This year you’re gonna do it!

50,000 words. One month. NaNoWriMo.

Have you ever wanted to write a novel but weren’t sure how to get started? Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the thought of writing a novel that you don’t start? Do you have ideas floating around in your head, but you’re not sure how to piece them together?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then NaNoWriMo is for you!

Can we accumulate 5 million words?

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Two champions are crowned! NaNoWriMo 2014

In November, Ball State English kicked off its first ever National Novel Writing Month competition amongst its faculty, students, friends, and alumni. Our writers warred against each other at weekly Monday Write-Ins, pushing their word counts higher than ever before. Weekly word champions were announced via Twitter.

Cumulatively, our 20 participants wrote a combined total of more than 350,000 words.

What about the overall winners? In our initial blog post, we stated that there would be two winners:

  • the first to reach 50,000 words
  • the person to write the most words overall

With NaNoWriMo officially over, we are pleased to announce those winners.

Ball State English is pleased to crown Alyssa Nobbe and Carie McMichael our NaNoWriMo champions!

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#NaNoWriMo is coming. Let’s get ready to write!

Photo provided by Sarah Hollowell

Photo provided by Sarah Hollowell

It’s almost November. If you’re novel savvy, you know what that means: it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month, known affectionately as NaNoWriMo.

Interested in competing in a #bsuenglish Face Off? Check out information at the bottom of the post!

To get us ready for #NaNoWriMo 2014, we’ve asked creative writing undergrad and NaNo verteran Sarah Hollowell to share her experiences.

So tell us, Sarah, what’s up with NaNoWriMo?

Every November since 1999, hundreds of thousands of novelists all over the world have taken on the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Since 2006, I’ve been one of them.

I was a sophomore in high school that first year, battling social anxiety and depression. Books and writing had always been my escape. National Novel Writing Month was just what I needed. For 30 days, I escaped into a fantasy world that was imaginative but not expertly constructed (I was, after all, 16.) I wrote 50,000 words that November, and finished the draft at 70,000 words in December.

The draft…was horrible. Really, truly, never-again-will-it-see-the-light-of-day bad.

But to sixteen-year-old me, it was beautiful. It was the largest project I’d ever taken on, and I finished it. I made a novel – a bad, bad novel, but a novel nonetheless – out of thin air. I felt magical. All of my dreams of being a writer seemed more real than they ever had before.

At this point you might be thinking: “That’s nice, Sarah, really, quite lovely. Inspiring, even. But I’m in college, not high school, and November is very near to college hell. I don’t sleep as it is, or I sleep too much. My dining plus is depleted, all used on Starbucks. I eat Lucky Charms out of Tupperware because the bowls are all dirty and doing dishes is too much work. How can I possibly write a novel?”

You make a fair point, hypothetical reader. These are real concerns. Signing up to do NaNoWriMo when you’re in college is radical, especially if you’re an English major. You’re in literature and creative writing classes already, right? You have 300 pages to read and six stories to workshop every week, not to mention that HIST 150 test. Writing 50,000 words on top of that seems impossible.

Here’s the thing: I’m lazy. Ask anyone. I’m a desperately lazy person. I’m going to nap after I finish this blog post, assuming I can stop binge watching Gilmore Girls – and I’ve won NaNo three times since starting college. If I can do it, trust me. So can you.

Spend your free time locked in your room, typing faster than you’ve ever typed. Scribble in notebooks between classes. Type notes on your phone while riding the shuttle and damn autocorrect more than you’ve ever damned it before. The worst that can happen is that you don’t finish, and I’ve done that, too. I haven’t finished NaNoWriMo since 2011.

I’m looking to change that, and I think you should join me.

Announcing: #bsuenglish Write Ins!

If you’re a NaNnano_12_new_Come_Write_In_Logo1o veteran, do it again. Write more this year. If it’s your first time, you’ve chosen a great year to start, because for the first time the Ball State English Department is going to be holding Write Ins.

They’ll be in the Letterman lobby from 9 PM – 10 PM on all the Mondays in November – that’s the 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th.

Oh, and did I mention there’s going to be a competition?

Announcing: #bsuenglish Face Off!

In November, we’ll have a page here on the blog with a list of NaNo-ing Ball State English majors and their up-to-date word count.

Every week, the current leader will be announced in a @bsuenglish tweet (which, of course, will earn mighty praise and envy from all involved).

At the end of the month, the writer who finishes first and the writer with the most total words will win prizes.

To get involved, all you have to do is send your NaNoWriMo username and Twitter handle to Becca Austin at rkaustin(at)bsu(dot)edu NO LATER THAN Thursday, October 30th at 5:00 PM.

Current faculty AND students welcome. Alums, too.

November is coming. Let’s write some novels, shall we?