Yolo County bands together for annual month-long writing challenge
Laughter, coffee and creativity were flowing at Crepeville on a Wednesday night as residents of the Davis community furiously typed away on their laptops. It was the eighth day of NaNoWriMo — formally known as National Novel Writing Month — and just the beginning for many aspiring writers.
Founded in 1999, National Novel Writing Month is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring creativity and motivation among writers everywhere. Each year on Nov. 1, thousands of participants all over the world pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days, a feat that does not come easily. While some may win the challenge and others may not, the overall intention of NaNoWriMo is simply to get words on the page.
“You don’t really have a choice once you decide to write 50,000 in one month,” said Davis resident Kelsey Ha. “You can’t second-guess yourself, and sometimes you may even surprise yourself.”
In the past, students at UC Davis have participated in NaNoWriMo as part of a seminar course taught by molecular and cellular biology professor Ian Korf. Although the course was not offered this year, there is still a strong presence of active NaNoWriMo participants in the Davis area.
“There’s always a core group of people that I know are going to do it every year,” said Elizabeth Kauffman, the co-municipal liaison of the Yolo County NaNoWriMo region. “I feel like there’s definitely more student participation if there’s an incentive, like a course on campus to get them involved.”
Within Yolo County, many writers say that the supportive community that comes along with participating in NaNoWriMo is what pushes them to succeed in completing 50,000 words. Led by Kauffman, local NaNoWriMo participants often gather together for “Write-In” events throughout the month to share ideas and motivate one another to achieve their goals. On any given night, some writers complete up to 3,000 words.
“I love the community,” said first-time NaNoWriMo participant Jennifer Gerhart. “The support is incredible, especially if you’re feeling defeated one day. Everybody has your back and you can provide that support back to other people.”
With two weeks left until the final day of NaNoWriMo, participants continue to write each day in the hopes of hitting 50,000 words. While some, like Ha, are already well past the halfway mark, many are hoping simply to stay on track until they reach the finish line.
Written by: Sydney Odman — firstname.lastname@example.org