Nanowrimo 2018

All Aboard The NaNo Express!

The REAL Best Time of the Year, Explained

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Disclaimer: This post is tailored more to non-writers, but writers should read this as well! Also look for more updates for NaNoWriMo! NaNo is basically the best time of the year for me. Even though I write throughout the year, having an entire month dedicated to it is a beautiful time. It puts a deadline in my face and gives me something to look forward to. It also makes me think and plan ahead because I only have 30 days for the actual writing of my story.


If you're reading this and you've never heard of Nano, I'm sorry. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is exactly that. The entire month of November is dedicated to writing a novel. Wait, before you run in terror, take a second to listen! It's not as scary as it sounds. At its core, NaNo is a month where you set a goal, and make time to achieve it. Typically the goal is 50,000 words, but you can set it wherever you think is right for you. You're also not writing a final draft, so the point is to ignore your mistakes (if they bother you, make some notes on what to fix), and push through. It's difficult, but you'll feel great (and a little exhausted) at the end, even if you don't make your goal.


Nano is beneficial for everyone, even if you're not a technical "writer." The novel can be set your favorite genre, fictional or real. This international event helps further existing skills that are necessary in all aspects of your life. Creativity, grammar, and functioning under pressure are all skills that are furthered through this experience. Participating in this can help you discover a passion you wouldn't have realized before, and open opportunities you didn't know about.


You, a 'nonwriter,' are probably asking yourself 'why?'. "Why should I stick this unnecessary book into my busy schedule?" I'll tell you why. Nano is a much more rewarding experience that people give it credit for. Besides coming out with an amazing and unique document, you also come out more creative and more capable of working under pressure. After nano is over, I get a ton of ideas for a second/third book, or a short story, or even a completely new project! Creativity is something that we lose more and more as we get older, and face "the real world." Nano is a good place to earn some of it back. You're no longer restrained to society's rules. You're no longer restrained to the laws of what's possible! You're no longer restrained to the laws of physics, even! Nano helps regain creativity because you don't think about what can be done. If you're writing this story for yourself, you can make it crazy, disconnected, and just the story you want. Without an audience, it's up to you, and what you want. You'll get more and more creative throughout the month, as your writing skills develop, and you start getting deeper into your story.
Now, it's the how. How do I sign up? How do I actually write a novel in a month? How do I protect my mind from snapping like a twig when I'm scribbling away at four in the morning? Well, to sign up, you can either go online to campnanowrimo.org and make an account. Next, you "announce" your novel and set it up. The website administrators put you in a virtual cabin with others like a support group. You can get inspiration from them, chapter title ideas, even proofreading. If you don't like this method, check out your library, it may have an adult or teen level NaNoWriMo 'club', which will do the same thing as the virtual camp, only in the real world. There's also the choice where you can do it solo, writing on your own, but I find it helpful to write in a group, as they challenge you to stick with your schedule.


Writing the actual novel is not as intimidating as it sounds, though there are times that you may want to quit. When you've hit a block and can't come up with ideas, or when you're novel isn't looking as good as you thought, or even when your sleep deprivation is catching up to you (ignore all of the above until after nano). I'll be here throughout the month, posting updates and strategies every week in November. I'll also be posting prep tips, problems writers encounter, and how to overcome them, as well as answering any questions you might have (Send questions to TheMidnightWriter@gmail.com). Other people aren't going to write your story. That's up to you. Go. Write. Conquer.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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