What is National Novel Writing Month?

What is this “Nanowrimo” people keep agonizing about?
As you walk around campus you might hear students cursing a strange word that sounds a lot like “Nan-O-rhyme-O.” The strange word may be easily mistaken as strange HSHP or theatre lingo, but NANOWRIMO actually stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a month-long commitment that encourages budding and experienced authors alike to write at least 1,667 words every day to create a 50,000-word novel by the end of the November.


How does it work?
People participate in a variety of different ways! Online, there is an official nanowrimo website where people who wish to participate can sign up, track their progress, and meet others who are participating. However, people don’t have to participate in any formal way, and many don’t. Instead, they just hold themselves accountable. At Ithaca College there are write-ins that pop-up every October and November on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 for students and Ithaca community members who are specifically participating in nanowrimo. It allows people to sit together, write, and share ideas.

Before November comes and the writing frenzy hits, many people outline ideas for their stories so that they aren’t scrambling in the future, but not everybody does. Ithaca College’s write-ins do start meeting on some nights in October to help writers brainstorm ideas!

Of course, life has a tendency to get in the way and continually writing at least 1,667 everyday isn’t possible, especially as a busy college student. It’s not uncommon for writers to fall behind a day and write double the next day when they are less busy, and there’s no shame or stigma! It’s all about sitting down to write, and less about the regimented schedule

How can I join?
It’s not too late for people to join in! You may have some catching up to do – about 15,000 words as of Nov. 9 – but it’s still not too late. Or, if you’re just hearing about this and producing 15,000 words seems overwhelming, you can just start now and aim for 35,000 words. Or, you can start planning a story idea for next November! Remember, it’s all about encouraging writers to make that time and just sit down, not stressing them out.

What do I do with my novel afterwards?
That's entirely up to you! If it’s still a work-in-progress, maybe keep writing it. If it’s fully done, begin the revising process, keep it all to yourself, or submit it to Stillwater and it might be featured on our blog!

All month long and a couple weeks after, we will be accepting excerpts of your nanowrimo projects where your work might be featured! Email it to stillwatermagazine@gmail.com to be considered – whether its finished or in-progress!


Stillwater Magazine