NaNoWriMo No More


Kayla Bayne and Jacob Sloane

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has concluded! Young writers have spent the last month writing actual books, along with students across the world. Students who participated got a chance, with support, to use their creativity by typing in their novels, along with thousands of other students, on the NaNoWriMo site (

The NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program is a non-profit program and is free for students to participate; it began in 1999. Each year in November, over 100,000 young writers under 18 enjoy writing anywhere from 60,000 to 170,000 words on the platform. The NaNoWriMo challenge itself takes place during the month of November. It offers tools like “the Dare Machine” that gives random situations for students to work into their plots to overcome writer’s block. Writers give themselves a word count goal for their novel, but the recommended word count for the beginning high school writer is 12,000 words written by the end of the month. Students and other writers had the entire month of November to get as close as they could to that goal. Several classes at WWHS participated in this creative writing challenge.

Travis Doyle, English Department chair at Woodrow Wilson High School, has participated in the program with his students since 2014, but has participated on his own since his junior year of college, starting November of 2005. “NaNoWriMo is freedom,” said Doyle. “It is the single greatest test in the fortitude of a writer – an experience unlike any other: to write with wild abandon, not stopping to edit, proof, or research. Just being unrestrained, breaking limits, one would never imagine they could.” Multiple classes at Woodrow participated in NaNoWriMo this year.

Many students aimed high and got extraordinary word counts, such as a Sophomore from Ms. Courtney Vandall’s creative writing class, Genna Lewis, who achieved a total of 45,650 words written. Ms. Vandall’s class total for her only participating class, creative writing, was 149,716. Mrs. Lisa Shrewsberry, a 10th grade English teacher at Woodrow, had three classes that participated in NaNoWriMo, two of which were able to complete 40% of their total class word goal. Her highest word-count achieving class wrote a total of 120,000 words. “It’s a standard for most grades that a student in high school have the ability to write over an extended time frame. It teaches academic and literary endurance,” Shrewsberry expressed. Mrs. Shrewsberry’s highest single word count winner was Erika Adkins, who wrote a total of 13,000 words .

Even after the November challenge, finding a topic you love and just writing until you can’t anymore is a fun way to finish a novel. Think of an interesting topic, begin writing, have fun and get creative with your very own story… and don’t forget to sign up for NaNoWriMo next year!