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  • Have you ever wanted to try your hand at writing a novel but never had the time or motivation? There’s a simple solution: NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge held every November and the goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, which averages to 1667 words per day.

    This week for Humans of Ptownlife, I interviewed a Pleasanton local who had participated in NaNoWriMo not once, not twice, but three times! Here’s what she shared with us:

    Why did you participate in the NaNoWriMo challenge?
    “It’s a really cool challenge because usually you’ll hear about quality over quantity, but at the same time, whatever first draft you write is always going to suck just by the nature of it being a first draft. That’s why it’s important to get anything written at all before try and analyze its quality. Essentially the goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, which averages to 1667 words per day. In context, 1667 words is about 3 pages single-spaced… maybe… I’m not 100% sure. But 50,000 is supposedly about the length of a short novel. It’d be like Fahrenheit 451 length. ”

    So when have you done the NaNoWriMo challenge?
    “The official NaNoWriMo is every November and it takes place every November, but there are also two camp NaNoWriMos. At the camp NaNoWriMo, you can actually set your own word count goal. Personally, I’ve done it three times: once the summer before 8th grade, 8th grade, and 9th grade.”

    What has been your favorite year of doing NaNoWriMo?
    “I would say my 9th grade piece. That was the one I did with vignettes, and it was basically the story of two friends from when they met when they were five up through high school. It was a series of scenes and the evolution of their friendship. I pulled that up about a year after I first wrote it and I read through it, and, I mean it wasn’t great because I wrote it in a month, but it was really fun to go back and read it. Also that was the first I had written with the intention that both characters be Chinese-American. And that was the first time I had ever done that, and so that was cool for me.

    And, also about NaNoWrimo, there are cool perks that you get for doing it. If you reach your word goal or if you just participate, there are different companies who will give you discounts on certain things. In the two years that I did it, I was able to print a free copy of my book. So it’s not published, but I designed my own cover and I have one hardcover and one paperback copy. And that’s just so cool, just to see it. ”

    What is it like participating in the challenge?
    “You put yourself through that routine of writing, and writing, and writing every single day. It forces you to be really present. Instead of coming back the next day and rereading what you wrote the previous day, you just have to keep going. Otherwise if you end up erasing things, then you set yourself back, so you just have to keep going.
    I don’t think you can do that every month, clearly. I think it’s more of a once-a-year thing, but is is really helpful to get your creative process going instead rather than just thinking about writing since you actually force yourself to write.”

    Check out the NaNoWriMo website for more information: https://nanowrimo.org/

    Check back next week for part two and some more advice!

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