50,000 Words, 30 days


Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform) prides itself on the unique expression of its different artistic focuses. The school provides information to the students for out of school artistic opportunities. One annual event is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. 

NaNoWriMo is a national writing competition – its goal is to help writers get the push they need to write the novels that have been running around in their minds. NaNoWriMo was created in 1999 by Chris Baty; 1999 was the only year that NaNoWriMo was set during a warm summer month (July). The year after it was changed to November, giving an opportunity to get through a what some consider to be a miserable month a little bit faster. The challenge immediately became a hit! Only two years after it began, over 5,000 people requested to join the Yahoo! group Baty set up to announce rules and word count. The only true rule of the event is that to win, a writer must write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. After the website was created, the challenge spread like wildfire. An official website was made in 2002, which still has constant updates such as word count statistics, regional groups to find other writers in the area, and allowing professional writers to give pep talks to struggling writers. One of the newer aspects to the NaNoWriMo website is the addition of meetups. Regional group chats allow participants to schedule meeting times at local coffee shops, libraries, parks, or any public area. These meeting times allow writers to meet and chat while also getting help with their stories.  

In KM Perform, NaNoWriMo is celebrated by one of the Writing Focus teachers, Mr. Weber. A seminar series runs annually inviting all focus areas to attempt to beat the national challenge. It’s an everyday class that allows students to focus on their stories with little to no distraction while also giving Mr. Weber an opportunity to work on his own writing. Taking the class isn’t necessary for participation, but with the help of peers, classroom participation mirrors a classic NaNoWriMo regional meetup. One addition to the class is an end of seminar presentation. The presentations give students a 20-minute block to explain their story lines, read five pages, and explain what they need to do to take their novel to the next level. 

Joining NaNoWriMo is an easy task. All a writer must do is write. There’s no need to join the website or buy merchandise from the site’s shop; all that needs to be finished is 50,000 words in 30 days. 

Even if you’re not a writer, sitting on the sidelines and encouraging your friends to write the next page or giving them advice on what to do next is just as important. If you are a writer, the NaNoWriMo challenge is not easy, but it’s an easy way to get the next novel idea out of your head and onto paper. Happy writing!