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NaNoWriMo Virgin

Ian David Philpot

Ian David Philpot

Ian David Philpot brings you up to speed on his first time participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month --

Twenty days ago, I was happy.  I had just chosen my topic for  NaNoWriMo, and I felt that I could find a way to stretch it into 50,000 words (the minimum number of words needed to "win").  I knew that it was going to be tough, and I tried to mentally prepare for the adventure.

I read through the forums and planned on going to my area's Kick-off/Write-in event on the first day.  I was very pumped.

When I arrived at the Kick-off/Write-in, I found I was the first person there.  Over the course of about an hour and a half, I met six other writers--all women between 18 and 40.  As each person joined, everyone introduced themselves and we shared what kind of novels each person was writing.  That's when a clear distinction was made: I was not only the solitary male but also the only person writing for a general readership.

I know this is a generalization of the women I met, but they were pretty much all writing young adult novels about girls for girls.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I just found it very difficult to relate with them.  (Especially the one about a girl who talks to mermaids.)

It was a good feeling on that first day to have fellow writers around, but I struggled to build solidarity because of my subject matter.  My first few days reflected a good word count because I almost felt like I had a group that I belonged to.  As I kept thinking about how alone I was in the writing process, my ability to keep my word count up and I quickly fell behind the 1,667 word/day average that would bring me to 50,000 by November 30.

As of today, November 19, I'm only at 14,512 when I should be closing in on 30,000.  I'm going to keep writing and hope that I make it there on time.

If you'd like to see what I'm writing about and keep up on my progress, click here.


Ian David Philpot, a Relief intern, is studying English at Northern Illinois University and spent one year in Columbia College Chicago's Fiction Writing program. He writes fiction and poetry, and can also list off eighteen elements from the periodic table and occasionally does not eat meat.

Ian David PhilpotRelief's intern and Blog Master, is studying English at Northern Illinois University and spent one year in Columbia College Chicago's Fiction Writing program. He writes fiction, poetry, and music as often as he can.  Ian loves Italian ice and gelato.