November can be one of the most challenging months of the year. The weather is beginning to chance, leading many first years from California to question their college and outerwear choices. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which can mean uncomfortable family reunions and the stresses associated with that. But, for a small but vocal population, November marks the beginning of their yearly trek through NaNoWriMo—no, not a disease or drug, but National Novel-Writing Month.
Started in 2001, NaNoWriMo is a multinational Internet-based creative writing project where aspiring authors attempt to write a 50,000 word novel within the month of November, with a daily word goal of 1,666 words per day. Admittedly, most of what people write during NaNoWriMo is crap, but the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to get words on the page — you can always revise during December. NaNoWriMo has the support of many famous authors, including a certain Kenyon alumnus. Famous novels that were first drafted during NaNoWriMo include The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. In 2010, over 200,000 people officially participated and over 2,782,682,109 words were written.
At this college full of writers and self-professed English nerds, bad cases of NaNoWriMo can be seen everywhere. Look out for the girl in your econ class who is typing a bit too furiously to be taking notes, or the boy in Peirce with his elbow resting comfortably on his uneaten chicken patty hours after food has stopped being served.
So if your friends are withdrawn and seem to be locking themselves alone in their rooms far too much, don’t worry. They’re probably not planning world domination, just trying to make it onto Kenyon’s prestigious list of author-alumni. Leave them as they are, or maybe help them out with a cup of coffee from WiggleGround when they’re struggling with their final battle and a Spanish III paper.
And for the sake of all Kenyon students, maybe gently remind them that their daily word goal can wait until after they take a shower and change their clothes.