Life After NaNoWriMo

At least they didn’t turn into pumpkins.

When the clock struck midnight on Dec. 1, groans stretched across the Kenyon campus. At that fateful moment, some experienced pure elation — eternal glory would be theirs, just as soon as they edited their finished product and sent it to a publisher. For others — despair. NaNoWriMo was ending and they had not reached their goals. At Kenyon, a school full of aspiring authors and poets, plenty tried their hand at the seemingly impossible deed of participating in NaNoWriMo. Read some of their stories after the jump…

For many at Kenyon College, 50,000 words was an unrealistic goal. Things like trying to complete higher education got in the way. So for people like Jameyanne Fuller ’14, a smaller word goal was in order. She hoped to rake up 15,000 words for her novel Gracenote. She believes that there’s a good, a bad and an ugly to NaNo: the good is that you get done, the bad is that everything is just really bad and the ugly is that you have to revise. But the support she got from the Kenyon Writing Center Writing Table (or KWC-WT club), of which she is a leader, allowed her to enjoy the process more than she had in previous years. Support from them, and her dog Mopsy ’14 (a Modern Languages and Literature major) made what could have been a stressful month into a fun one.

KWC-WT's Progress Poster.

KWC-WT’s Progress Poster.

KWC-WT organized multiple writing gatherings—including ‘Tea Time’ and a final ‘Oh God, Oh God I Must Finish Word Count’ Party on Nov. 30 — and gave each other challenges and games. If nothing else, they were able to shame each other into writing something in that special way that only friends can.

Adam Bulmash ’14 took a different approach to NaNo this year. Rather than having a specific word count that he aimed for per day, he just tried to write a little every day. His goal being that at the end of the month, he’d have something to show for each day. Of course, this lead to having some wiggle room. Over Thanksgiving Break he took a breather while still technically reaching his goal. Throughout the week he wrote a single sentence, which he “promptly erased once [he] realized how crappy the sentence was.”

Hint: It’s not.

One of the most amusing times of NaNoWriMo for Glynis Schumacher ’14 was when she found herself very distracted while doing some research. “I found myself having to look up the Wikipedia list of serial killers listed by number of victims.”  [Ed.: I’ve read that too. Fun times.] She ended up reading the entire article, then found herself in a philosophical debate with Bulmash, which, though informative, took a good chunk out of her allotted writing time. She did, however, go above and beyond her original goal of writing 200 words per day.

Not all members reached their goals, however. Claire Smith ’16 ended her NaNo with 11,200 words, a far cry from the 50,000-word goal she had for herself. But there was a silver lining. In her third attempt to do NaNo, she fared far better than Year One (a sum total of zero words) and Year Two (a total of 12). As friend Kyle Fisher ’16 pointed out, she did “infinite times better” than her first attempt. Fisher himself reached his goal of writing 100 pages of screenplay for an ongoing television series he’s been working on called Chrome.

And in that moment, I swear my word count was infinite.

One of the seemingly best ideas for NaNoWriMo ended up being a flop when Camille Bourret’s ’16 story Obama Begins maxed out at 1,000 words. In this tale of intrigue, our 44th President took on the cape and mask of the Batman and saved the citizens of the United States not only from a fiscal cliff, but from the forces of darkness, as well. Things would have gotten interesting — out of a KWC-WT-provided jar of plot ideas, Bourret picked ‘Your villain is secretly gay.’ The main antagonist? Mitt Romney.

Speaks for itself.

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