#NaNoWriMo Approaches!

#NaNoWriMo Approaches!

Simultaneously the greatest and most painful month for creative writers.

November is approaching, and with it, National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo (that’s na-noh-ry-moh; I pronounced it “ree-mo” for the longest time). Founded in the 1990’s, NaNoWriMo is a competition to write a novel in a month—the typical goal is 50,000+ words. Participants can sign up at nanowrimo.org and become a member of their regional group—Athens has one here.

Through this website, you can connect with other participants from around the world and chat about your stories, look for some advice, or just talk to people who share interests with you. You can create a profile on the website to connect with others and share updates about your novel, and at the end of the month, you take the entirety of your work, copy it onto the website, and submit it through their word-counter to claim yourself a winner of NaNoWriMo.

Conquering the word count challenge will qualify you for many different prizes, including a free published copy of your book, discounts on advanced writing software, free e-books, and more! The cool thing about NaNoWriMo is that, while it is a competition, it’s not exactly one against others. You compete against your laziness, procrastination, and general-lack-of-will-to-write (trust me, I know the feeling) to make yourself sit down and write everyday—that’s proven to be the most effective way to improve your writing. However, some regions compete against one another; for example, Athens and Jacksonville, FL often have competitions to see who can pull out the most words. It’s a great challenge for creative writers, especially those who haven’t been doing much writing lately and need a kick to get started again.

NaNoWriMo, despite the name, isn’t limited to just novels, however. The focus lies more heavily on the word count rather than the actual form or nature of the work, because getting any writing done, good or bad, is better than not producing any at all. So if you prefer short stories, go for it. Write ten 5,000-word pieces, or five 10,000-word pieces. It’s all up to you, and that’s the magic of NaNoWriMo. If you’re a poet, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how you’d be able to pull off the word count, but maybe create the next “Paradise Lost?” I’m sure everyone would be enthralled to give it a read if you actually pulled it off.

The best part about NaNoWriMo, though, is the community. Besides meeting people online from all over the world, there are regional groups that often meet up at coffee shops, libraries, and other public places to chat, motivate one another, and get some writing done. I recently met with the Athens NaNoWriMo group and they’re fabulous. There’s such a great, supportive environment; it’s not often you’re surrounded by other authors in such am intimate setting. They hold fun events, write-ins, and other activities throughout the month; you’re greatly encouraged to reach out to your local chapter for encouragement and additional info on NaNoWriMo! You can reach them through the official NaNoWriMo site, but many of them also have pages on Facebook! So get brainstorming, and have a happy NaNoWriMo!

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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