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New York Writer Exceeds National Novel Writing Month Challenge

Nov 23, 2009

OSSINING, NY -- Writer Sarah Whitten has completed a fifty-thousand word novel in twenty days, exceeding the original challenge; to write a book in thirty days.

Ms. Whitten, who has been a paid creative writer for over two decades but has yet to have a novel published, described the challenge as, "The most effective, enjoyable, writing exercise I've ever experienced."

National Novel Writing Month, nicknamed, "NaNiWriMo," was founded in 1999 by Oakland, California resident Chris Baty, and has become the largest writing contest in the world. From twenty-one participants the first year, the contest has grown to well over one hundred thousand in more than ninety countries in 2009. Described as a nonprofit literary crusade, " NaNoWriMo," says Ms. Whitten, "may well be the ideal approach to the writer's fragile ego."

Ms. Whitten's age group, fifty to sixty year-olds, has the highest success rate with the NaNoWriMo challenge, which is to write a novel during the thirty days of November. No prizes are given and the writing is scrambled for submission, counted by computer and then promptly destroyed, so that writers don't have to be concerned that their work will be used in any way without their consent. Writers are advised to stay with forward progress only; no editing, polishing

"Because the nature of the process is presented to us as, 'a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to writing,' " Ms. Whitten says, " it's unusually liberating. I'd never realized until now how stuck I used to get editing, polishing, going back and deleting, re-writing and self-censoring. The NaNoWriNo approach includes both humorous and profound pep emails from published authors and support videos from NaNoWriMo staff." Ms. Whitten adds that, "National Novel Writing Month is approached entirely with good humor and support for the often isolated, self-critical writer. In short, it's a refreshing change from many writing classes and writers' conferences which profess to be supportive but too often are not."

Accustomed to writing under tight deadlines, and current author of empowerment blogs for tweens and teens, Ms. Whitten remained undaunted throughout her twenty days of writing and is now looking forward to NaNoWriMo's editing challenge, which begins in December.

Keywords: writers, contest, deadline, NaNoWriMo, novel, empowerment  Arts and Entertainment » Books

Contact Info
  • News From the Front, Inc.
  • Sarah Whitten
  • (914) 649-8391