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NaNoWriMo in COVID

As we close out 2020, staggering with exhaustion from the year-long onslaught of unexpected challenges, we now welcome a month-long challenge that lets us escape reality. For a large community of people, November is the month to squeeze out their creative juices. 

National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that promotes creative writing for individuals all around the world, nurturing the transformational power of creativity. It’s a community consisting of regional groups and activities all related to writing, which provides the structure and encouragement that helps people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and imagine new worlds. 

NaNoWriMo began because one person decided to write a novel, and he discovered that the peer pressure of it being a social event motivated him to put words on a page. It prompted an intimidating but straightforward challenge: to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Now, starting from November 1st, thousands of people all over the world band together to take on this challenge, determined to end the month with 50,000 new words. 

An environment electrified with people and encouragement really helps a lot of people reach their creative goals and NaNoWriMo kickstarts that through their comprehensive structure and streamlined forums. 

However, due to COVID, slight changes have been made. People are more tired than usual. Between U.S. elections and a harrowing pandemic, it’s hard to squeeze writing in. But what’s a better time to start a novel than when you’re at home all day?

While there used to be in-person meetups in which libraries, bookstores, and other neighborhood spaces were connected with local NaNoWriMo participants, it is now asked by the NaNo team for there to be no in-person write-ins for fear of spreading the virus. However, due to this setback, NaNo has opened up the regions and reorganized their forums. 

It is hard, impossible even, to replicate the physicality of in-person write-ins. But online platforms such as Discord, Zoom, and Google Meets work with some success and for a lot of people, it helps with things like social anxiety. 

Earlier this year, NaNoWriMo put together #StayHomeWriMo which is seven weekdays worth of activities that support writers’ physical, mental, creative, and social well-being. 

Writing can feel like a chore at times. But with NaNoWriMo, writers are provided with an atmosphere that welcomes them with open arms and encourages their writing skills to ensure that they reach their full potential. 

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Alex Su

Alex Su is a Biochemistry student and a staff writer at the Collegian. Harboring a passionate love for fiction, she enjoys writing prose as much as reading books. She’s fascinated by the complexity of living things and aims to work in the medical field. She likes writing for the Collegian as much as bullet journaling, drawing, and eating.

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