50,000 Words This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 31, 2010
As my family slept in the darkened hotel room, I pounded away at my laptop, struggling to keep my eyes open as I typed. Despite the late hour, this day was like any other during November: I had a 2,000-word quota to fill, and I would not sleep until I met it. This was NaNoWriMo, and I was determined to make it to 50,000 words by the end of the month.

It was junior year, and my second year participating in National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. I had discovered NaNoWriMo sophomore year, and I tried it (and won) for the first time that November. Now at the beginning of November in my junior year, I was prepared. Armed with a plot outline, my trusty laptop, and endless cups of tea, I was ready to begin.

On the morning of Nov. 1, I embarked on my second voyage into the land of noveling, entering the World War II English countryside in which I had set my story. The month was out of the ordinary, to say the least, with a combination of noveling, schoolwork, college visits, and marching band.

I wrote at a frantic speed during lunch periods and between classes. I finished my homework quickly in order to have novel-writing time, and, as my fellow color guard members can attest, I even brought a notebook to write in during the non-halftime minutes of our school's weekly football games.

On the night of Nov. 28, sitting at my computer, I gave the screen one last look and slowly, carefully, typed my final words. Though it was only a rough draft, I had a novel: 50,000 words, a neatly finished story, a perfectly imperfect beginning, middle, and end. I would miss my setting and my characters, but I knew I would see them again, eventually, for a rewrite sometime in the future.

I have a permanent NaNoWriMo viewpoint now, and from here, I have yet to encounter a writing assignment too big. The prospect of an 800-word article or a two-page essay isn't nearly as daunting when you've written 2,000 words a day for a month.

I've gained a certain kinship with others who have participated in NaNoWriMo, and I know they are in a situation similar to mine. In my ordinary life, I am a daughter, a sister, a student, a friend. But as of my past two Novembers, although I am not the least bit famous, I am a novelist.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

Cookieluvr said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm
I am doing NaNoWriMo right now, and I am quite simply failing. I am way behind on my word count because I didn't set a minimum limit for each day. But now that I started, it's really fun. I know I won't reach the goal, but I'll get somewhere, and just because November is finished doesn't mean I have to stop. :-)
Student_Life said...
Sept. 28, 2011 at 10:02 am
Wow this is great. You must have had a lot of stress that month. I can tell that you are a novelist by the way you talked in this message. I hope I can read your book.
Smsxcrules said...
Oct. 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm
The author has a very strong sense of self identity. Even though there is extreme accomplishment, there is pride without ego. Very nice essay!
Alice_Capel said...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm
this year will be my first hope to read what you write this year
stardust-dreams This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm
Last year was my first NaNoWriMo. It made me manage my time so much better and push myself as a writer. Cheers!
flowerkris said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm
hehehe pounding away at the keyboard
dirtymartinies replied...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:39 pm
Although I believe you had the tidings of an intriguing essay, perhaps if you were to draw strings to your eligibility for the particular college you're applying to would be beneficial. Furthermore, the conclusion seemed a bit too abrubt, strayed from the flow you had set before. Hope this was helpful! :)
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