NaNoWriMo Victories

By: Shyanne Sexton

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is an annual writing challenge that calls on participants to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. This literary marathon demands dedication, creativity, and perseverance. For many aspiring writers, completing NaNoWriMo is a monumental achievement that signifies a triumph in word count and a journey of self-discovery and artistic expression. Four students here at PHS who undertook this ambitious challenge and emerged victorious. Throughout this issue and the next PHS Journalism staff will highlight 2 of the students at a time and their journeys. 

Kathryn Cornwell, a distinguished senior here at PHS fueled by a passion for storytelling and an extra hundred in the grade book, took her first steps into the realm of NaNoWriMo with trepidation and excitement. Like everything else she does Kathryn faced this challenge head-on, juggling schoolwork, jobs, and the demands of daily life. Despite initial doubts, Kathryn was captivated by the creative process, discovering hidden depths of imagination she never knew she possessed. 

Immersing herself in the hallow confines of our local Starbucks Kathryn harnessed the productive atmosphere, allowing her writing process to run ramped. The beginning of her narrative mirrored the distinctive contours of her personal life leading up to senior year as she expressed, “I wanted to tell my story but from an outside perspective.” However, as the long days of November fell by the way the story took an unexpected turn from a thin-veiled autobiography to the fictional narrative of a serial killer. Kathryn had navigated the early days of November with a steady pace, until she encountered a roadblock in her writing journey – what to do once she had shared her entire story. After days of pondering Kathryn had decided that to overcome this hurdle, she would draw inspiration from horror shows, movies, and books, shaping her character with newfound insight. As she found herself nearing the end, concluding her story became a challenging task, she had built relationships with the characters and couldn’t leave her narrative with a rushed or improper result.

The NaNoWriMo experience proved to be a roller coaster for Kathryn.  When asked if she would take on the daring challenge of NaNoWriMo again, Kathryn declined but shared her commitment to continue writing and pursuing her own creative desires. For Kathryn, the completion of NaNoWriMo signified more than just the creation of a novel. The discipline she honed during those 30 days translated into improved time management skills and heightened confidence, both academically and creatively.  

All the Journalism staff would like to congratulate Kathryn on her amazing achievement and wish her well in future endeavors.

Shelby Dambeck another Senior here at PHS also embarked on her NaNoWriMo journey this past month. The blank page stared back at her, and the challenge of writing a novel in just 30 days seemed daunting. Early days Shelby found herself grappling with a lack of direction in her story, unsure of where her characters would lead her. But, as she delved deeper into the writing process, a sense of accomplishment began to bloom.

Shelby shared that her writing started at a slow pace, the words trickling onto the page like a hesitant stream. However, as November unfolded, so did her narrative. Thanksgiving break proved to be a turning point for Shelby, a moment when everything began to click into place. With each passing day, her story gained momentum, and Shelby found herself caught up in the whirlwind of her characters’ lives. Shelby’s novel centered around a timeless theme: a love story between high school sweethearts. Yet, she approached it with a refreshing twist—deviating from the conventional narrative where the lovers live happily ever after.

The Starbucks proved once again to be a sanctuary for creativity. Armed with her favorite chai tea latte, she let the comforting hum of background noise and the warmth of her surroundings fuel her imagination. The ambiance became a backdrop for the development of her characters and the unfolding of their story. Shelby discovered that a change of scenery and a favorite beverage could be the perfect recipe for a productive writing session.

Shelby’s advice to fellow NaNoWriMo participants is simple but powerful: keep your pace and stay consistent. She emphasizes that maintaining a steady writing routine is key to alleviating the stress that can accompany such a challenge. By tackling her novel page by page, Shelby avoided the overwhelm that can often come with the pressure of word counts and deadlines. While Shelby doesn’t envision herself publishing or pursuing a career in writing, she recognizes the invaluable lessons NaNoWriMo has imparted. The discipline, determination, and creative problem-solving she cultivated during this month-long writing marathon are skills that will undoubtedly serve her well in her future endeavors to be a nurse. Whether in the classroom or any other arena, Shelby is confident that the resilience she honed during NaNoWriMo will be a guiding force.

As November drew to a close, Shelby looked back on her NaNoWriMo experience with a sense of accomplishment. Her journey from uncertainty to a completed novel is a testament to the transformative power of creativity and commitment. And, if she ever decides to take on NaNoWriMo again, there’s a promise lingering in the air—a continuation of the love story she brought to life, a narrative waiting to be unfolded in the pages of another Starbucks-fueled adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *