National Novel Writing Month

Some of the many books that Oxbridge Students wrote.

Some of the many books that Oxbridge Students wrote.

Sofia Ringvald and Lucy Ream

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NANOWRIMO is the acronym for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, a project that has become an annual activity for not only Oxbridge freshmen but also for many other students and adults around the world. The goal is to complete an entire novel in one month. Participants can receive pep talks and encouragement from NANOWRIMO. At Oxbridge, each day students are expected to write a thousand words, which is not an easy task. It pays off in the end as every student’s creative writing skills greatly improve, and by November 30th each student has written a 30,000-word novel (about 90 pages). NANOWRIMO’s website explains that 90% of people who completed their novel stated that NANOWRIMO made writing more fun for them. Writing a novel is a big accomplishment for anyone and it is something any student will remember for their entire life.

NANOWRIMO has become increasingly popular over the years. At Oxbridge this year there were 122 participants from the freshmen English classes, making up a small fraction of the three hundred thousand participants worldwide. The teachers whose participated in NANOWRIMO this year were Ms. Jurskis, Mr. Halpern, Mrs. Gayton, Dr. Riordan, Ms. Porter, and Ms. Wolfe. The project improves writing skills and also teaches perseverance, determination, and most importantly, time management, all of which are skills that are very hard to teach. Ms. Jurskis herself is a big fan of NANOWRIMO. Every year, she reads each of her students’ novels and has completed the project herself in the past. Regarding the importance of NANOWRIMO, she said, “I think the program is important because it helps students get past their fear of writing, develop writing endurance, and gives them a chance to experiment with different styles and story ideas. It’s a HUGE accomplishment to complete a novel! Most adults only dream of writing a book.”

After the students complete their novels, Oxbridge’s English teachers encourage students to continue with their novels by editing them or adding more detail if they choose. Many students continue on their writing path and publish them. Some of their novels are even found in English classrooms throughout the school. NANOWRIMO is a unique experience in which adults can also participate, although the requirements are a slightly different. They have to write a 50,000-word novel. The project has become a favorite amongst Oxbridge students, teachers, and parents. An Oxbridge sophomore said, “NANOWRIMO gave me confidence in my writing that I didn’t know I had. I would definitely do it again and I recommend this amazing opportunity to everyone.”

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