Students gather to put the finishing touches on their novels. (image credit: Megan Palmer)

“It was cold.”

“There was no one on the first floor of the library.”

“What’s your name, dear?”

These are just some of the first lines of what could one day become bestsellers.

For the second year in a row, the Creative Writing Club celebrated the month of November with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge to unleash your inner writer and subdue your inner critic in an attempt to write 50,000 words by November 30.

NaNoWriMo, in addition to being a movement and a community, is also a nonprofit that “believes in the transformational power of creativity. [They] provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”

The Creative Writing Club has embarked on this novel writing journey with NaNoWriMo through weekly write-ins, word wars and “word sprints,” with the goal of challenging both oneself and each other through support and healthy competition.

With 8 members participating this semester, Creative Writing Club President Mary Newton has been incredibly pleased with the hard work and dedication of all writers. With the support and foundation of the club, Newton has been able to “tailor meetings to what [she] needs help with” with the hope that those lessons will also help participants through their own writing process. Workshops have focused on dialogue, plot twists, and not editing as you write, and have been very beneficial according to Kaitlin Tetreault and Caryssa Propfe.

Propfe, who does not consider herself a “writer” is currently flying into the 40,000-word mark as the month draws to a close. While she acknowledges that she won’t meet the month’s overall word target, she stated that participating for the second year in a row has opened her eyes to what she can do, and she is proud of what she has accomplished. “You don’t have to be good at something to enjoy it,” Propfe said, referring to NaNoWriMo.

While the writing process may seem like a contained and isolated event, Newton, who is on track to reach 50,000 words by 11:59 p.m. on November 30, stated that NaNoWriMo has taught her life lessons beyond simply how to write a novel:

“Really, it’s about perseverance,” Newton said. “It’s about realizing that if you set your mind to do something, you can do it. Even if it’s really really difficult. And, believe it or not… writing a novel can get really really difficult.”

The Creative Writing Club meets Mondays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. in Robert Frost 231 and welcomes any new members throughout the year.

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