Why NaNoWriMo Has It Right

Why NaNoWriMo Has It Right

Why this organization should be near the top of your donation list
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This past Saturday (November 4th), I donated to my favorite organization of all time, National Novel Writing Month. This was part of their Double-Up Donation Day, for which they raised over $112,000! (I'm writing this on the actual Saturday, so I don't know the final number yet, but it should be on their homepage).

I know I've talked about NaNo a lot, (like here... and here... and here...) but it's for a good reason (for a LOT of reasons, actually). Ever since I first joined the site in 2010, I have consistently written with them three times a year, always able to meet my goals and always ready to tell every living creature in sight about it.

Firstly, at its core, NaNoWriMo empowers writers. Before November 2010, I hadn't been able to type 'The End' on any original project over 30,000 words. Since then, I've written it 18 times, all for 50,000+ word novels. If it weren't for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn't have developed a real desire for writing as a young teen, which would never have exploded into a true passion in high school. Consequently, I would never have gone to college for Writing Communications. I would never have graduated, never have freelanced and never have gotten a full-time job as an English TA. (I'm still working on the publishing bit, but the good stuff takes time).

Basically: I kinda owe everything I have to NaNo.

This is what NaNoWriMo is all about. They're nonprofit, meaning they offer writers all over the world a chance to meet their goals for free. Throughout November, they send participants daily emails ("Pep Talks") with tips from professional, published authors just so participants can find extra motivation. They also host virtual Write-Ins (livestream YouTube videos) so writers can write together with organized prompts and sprints, and just have the chance to collaborate with people who are tackling the same challenges.

Additionally, they host the Young Writer's Program, something for which I am so grateful and of which I am most impressed. The NaNoWriMo staff provide FREE materials to classrooms and give young writers the chance to flourish as writers and advance their skills and passions. This is one of the single greatest things about NaNo, period. Speaking as someone who discovered my love for writing as a kid, seeing young people actually getting respect for their creativity gives me hope for the future. And now that I understand how hard it can be for teachers/instructors to give kids these chances, knowing that NaNo does it without charging a thing is astonishing.

Finally, NaNo gets the community involved. Their Come Write In program links libraries, bookstores and other locations to give people places to meet and write together. They create places for writers to build groups, to feel connected and to have a place just to create together. This organization cares about their participants so much, they're willing to actually cultivate their communities into better, more creative places.

This is just the bare bones. NaNoWriMo has done so much more for so many millions of people that I can't possibly fit all of it into one article. Please visit their About page to see more detailed descriptions about what they do and why it matters. If you're really moved (which I should hope you are) please Donate Now.

This organization is doing amazing things for a lot of people who otherwise may not be writers at all. Creativity is one of the few good things humanity has. I, for one, will always give support to people who make it a priority, and of these, NaNoWriMo will always be first and foremost.

Cover Image Credit: George Becker

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14 Stages Of Buying Jonas Brothers Concert Tickets As A 20-Something In 2019

"Alexa, play "Burnin' Up" by the Jonas Brothers."

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In case you missed it, the Jonas Brothers are back together and, let me tell you, they're giving us some major jams. For those of us who were there when it all began back in 2007 with their first album, It's About Time, this has been one of the most important events of the year. But nothing, and I mean nothing can rival the excitement every twenty-something felt as the Jonas Brothers announced their Happiness Begins tour. I, for one, put my name in for ticket presale, have been following every single social media site related to the tour/group, and, of course, listening to the Jonas Brothers on repeat. And if you did manage to snag tickets, then you know that this is how your brain has been ever since they announced the tour.

1. Finding out that they're going on tour

2. Hopefully entering your name into the lottery to get presale tickets

3. Finding out that you actually get to buy presale tickets

4. Impatiently waiting for your presale tickets by listening to their songs on repeat

5. And remembering how obsessed you used to be (definitely still are) with them

6. Trying to coordinate the squad to go to the concert with you

7. Waiting in the Ticketmaster waiting room...

8. ...And feeling super frantic/frustrated because there are about 2000 people in line in front of you

9. Actually getting into the site to buy the tickets

10. Frantically trying to find seats you can actually pay for because, let's be real, you're twenty-something and poor

11. Managing to actually get the seats you want

12. Joyfully letting your squad know that you've done it

13. Crying a little because all of the dreams you've had since 2007 are coming true

14. Listening to every single Jonas Brothers song on repeat (again)

If you, like me, have finally fulfilled one of your dreams since childhood, then congrats, my friend! We've made it! Honestly, of all the things I've done in my adult life, this might be the one that child me is the most proud of.

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Severus Snape Is The Worst, And Here's Why

Albus Severus, sweetie, I'm so sorry...

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I grew up being absolutely obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise. I read the books for the first time in second and third grade, then again in middle school, and for the third time in my last year of high school. Recently, I had a somewhat heated argument with a fellow fan of the books about Severus Snape. As I've reread the Harry Potter books, I've noticed that, although J.K. Rowling tried to give him a redemption arc, he only got worse because of it. Here's why I still think Severus Snape is the absolute worst.

His love for Lily Potter was actually really creepy. When I was younger and reading the books, I always found the fact that he held fast in his love for Lily to be very endearing, even noble. However, rereading it after going through a couple of relationships myself, I've come to realize that the way he pined over her was super creepy. It was understandable during his time at Hogwarts; he was bullied, and she was the only one who "understood" him. However, she showed zero interest, and if that didn't clue him into realizing that he should back off, her involvement with James Potter should have. She was married. He was pining after a married, happy woman. If he truly loved her, he would have realized how happy she was and backed off. Instead, he took it out on her orphan son and wallowed in bitterness and self-pity, which is creepy and extremely uncool. When a girl is kind to a boy during high school (or in this case, wizard school), it's not an open invitation for him to pine for her for the literal rest of his life and romanticizes the absolute @#$% out of her. It's just her being a decent person. Move on, Severus.

He verbally abused teenagers. One of the most shocking examples of this is in The Prisoner of Azkaban when Snape literally told Neville Longbottom that he would kill his beloved toad, Trevor if he got his Shrinking Potion wrong, and then punished him when he managed to make the potion correctly. Furthermore, poor Neville's boggart was literally Snape. The amount of emotional torture Neville must have been enduring from Snape to create this type of debilitating fear must have been almost unbearable, and even if Snape was simply trying to be a "tough" professor, there is no excuse for creating an atmosphere of hostility and fear like he did in his potions class for vulnerable students like Neville. In addition, he ruthlessly tormented Harry (the last living piece of Lily Potter, his supposed "true love," btw), and made fun of Hermione Granger's appearance. Sure, he might have had a terrible life. However, it's simply a mark of poor character to take it out on others, especially when the people you take it out on are your vulnerable students who have no power to stand up to you. Grow up.

He willingly joined a terrorist group and helped them perform genocide and reign over the wizarding world with terror tactics for a couple of decades. No explanation needed as to why this is terrible.

Despite the constant romanticization of his character, I will always see the core of Severus Snape, and that core is a bitter, slimy, genocidal, manipulative trash being. J.K. Rowling's attempt to redeem him only threw obsessive and controlling traits into the mix. Snape is the absolute worst, and romanticizing him only removes criticism of an insane man who just so happened to be capable of love (just like the vast majority of the rest of us). Thank you, next.

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