National Novel Writing Month kicked off by WC Writing Center

By Grace Apostol

News Co-Editor 

November is National Novel Writing Month, and Washington College’s Writing Center is hosting workshops to celebrate the occasion. 

According to Writing Center Tutor sophomore Evan Merk, who is also helping with the workshops in the Center, “[NaNoWriMo] is a non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to uplifting and promoting creativity in writing. The organization itself was started in 1999 and has grown rapidly since.” 

To help promote creative writing, the center is holding “workshops about writing and power hours where students and professors can come to work on their novels,” Merk said.

During these workshops, the participants are attempting to write creative works throughout the course of the month. 

One of the participants of NaNoWriMo is Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Dr. Shaun Ramsey, who began his first novel in 2017.

“This project is a kind of sequel to a novel that I wrote largely due to NaNoWriMo in 2017,” he said. “When I finished that story, I had more to say about some of the characters who were adjacent to its plot.” 

These workshops and the month-long celebration of NaNoWriMo at WC was conceptualized by Director of the Writing Center Dr. Rachel Rodriguez.

“​I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for a long time, and I’ve known that some Writing Centers host programming for it, but I’ve never done it myself,” she said. “At the end of last year, I was looking for ways to strengthen the Writing Center’s connection with all writers at WC, including creative writers. After double checking that other groups weren’t already hosting NaNoWriMo events, I said, ‘let’s give it a try.’”

According to Dr. Rodriguez, she hosted an interest meeting co-sponsored by SGA to gauge how many community members would want to participate in the month-long workshops. 

Now about halfway through the month, the turnout has been positive. 

“The month is going well,” Merk said. We’ve had a great turn out at workshops and power hour writing sessions, and I’m excited to see it continue. I hope the project continues to take off, and that more students get involved in years to come. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch works develop in such a short period of time.”

Ramsey also believes that this project is a great idea for creative writing. 

“Creative writing is a lot of fun and there is a lot of freedom to explore crazy ideas, dreams, or something new,” he said. “I have always had stories that float around in my brain, and it is wonderful getting them onto the page.”

​            “I love hearing about all the novels and stories students are writing,” Dr. Rodriguez said. “Sharing your writing and your writing process can be hard to do, and can leave you feeling vulnerable. I feel immensely privileged that these students have trusted me and the writing tutors with their ideas and their words.”

To get involved, members of the WC community can contact Rachel Rodriguez at, or visit the Writing Center located in Goldstein Hall. 

Elm Archive Photo

Photo Caption: Dr. Rodriguez’s NaNoWriMo sessions will be held primarily in the Writing Center in Goldstein Hall throughout the month of November.

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