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Hillsdale stu­dents par­tic­ipate in National Novel Writing Month | Edu­cator Inno­vator

The writer’s eyes stare at the blinking cursor on the screen, clammy hands hov­ering over the key­board. “Only 50,000 words to go,” the writer thinks, “time to get to work.”

Perhaps you’ve never been tasked with such a lengthy assignment, but if you’re a Hillsdale student, chances are you’ve faced an essay deadline before. The pressure builds until the lim­i­ta­tions of time and the seem­ingly large stakes force you to type. 

For sophomore Eliz­abeth Vietor, dead­lines are how she plans to write her first novel. With the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days — that’s roughly 1,667 words a day — she has set her sights on a task many college stu­dents would con­sider daunting. 

“It’s just like writing essays in college,” Vietor said. “The deadline makes you do it no matter how bad or annoying it is. That’s what I enjoy about NaNoWriMo.”

Vietor is not alone in her lofty aspirations.The orga­nizers of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short, expect 400,000 writers to par­tic­ipate this year, 70,000 of whom are expected to be K-12 stu­dents.

Sophomore and pres­ident of the Cre­ative Writing Club Isaiah Scheuer said he expects at least 10 Hillsdale stu­dents to par­tic­ipate. Though it’s not the first time Hillsdale stu­dents have par­tic­i­pated in the event, it is the first time Scheuer recalls the writing club pro­moting it.

“I don’t think too many people on campus are aware of National Novel Writing Month, and I think it’s some­thing more people should be aware of,” Scheuer said. “Not only does it get the club out there, but it also is a way to get NaNoWriMo more pub­licity on campus.”

National Novel Writing Month has been a non­profit orga­ni­zation since 1999. The website pro­vides writers with pep talks, badges of accom­plish­ments, and a network to meet other writers in their area. 

Sophomore and pub­lished author Jacquelyn Eubanks says fellow writers who enjoyed the expe­rience encouraged her to write her next book this November. This will be Eubanks’ first book written during NaNoWriMo but her eighth novel overall. Three have been pub­lished. 

“In the past I’ve never needed NaNoWriMo, I’ve always been able to get novels written, but because of college this will hope­fully be a cat­alyst to a first draft,” Eubanks said.

Of course, when you’re trying to write an average of 1,667 words a day, there may not be a whole lot of time for careful reflection. For some such as Scheuer, this deters them from par­tic­i­pation.

“Some people are very good at writing and write out 2,000 words a day, others are more loose in their writing and they write whenever they feel like it,” Scheuer said. “I def­i­nitely fall into that second cat­egory, so I choose not to par­tic­ipate in the event myself.”

Others like Eubanks, who said the first draft is always bad, dis­agree. 

“Whether it takes you seven years or a month, it’s still going to be garbage either way,” Eubanks explained. “It’ll be garbage whether you write it in 10 years, or 20, so I think it’s way better to get it all down. You can always edit later.”