The First Draft
December 7, 2016
Filed under Features
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To anyone who’s ever read and really enjoyed a book, finishing a project of similar scale might seem like an impossible task. Even more so if you were asked to do so in just 30 days. But that’s exactly what special education teacher Elizabeth Koch did.
“[The novel] is about a teenager who feels left behind by her best friend and ends up finding friendship with someone unexpected and they both end up helping each other out in a hard time in their life,” Koch said.
Koch participated in an annual event called NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a nickname for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, during the month of November, participants from around the world try to finish a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. The short time limit is both freeing and difficult to work with.
“It was freeing to know that it could be bad that I just needed to get words on the page and that I could go back at some other time and fix it or edit it,” Koch said. “It was also very nerve-wracking and stressful at times.”
Koch found support in her writing from family, students, and the over 400,000 other participants.
“My family was really cool. Mostly I told my students about it… and they all encouraged me too. And I told my advisory kids, and even some of their names are in the story,” Koch said.
Even with all that support, the task sometimes seemed overwhelming.
“After about week 1 I think I had a day that I only had about 300 words and I was like ‘there was no way I was gonna do it.’ But, I had already bought myself the winner’s T-shirt, so I couldn’t quit,” Koch said.
But on day 29, Koch hit 50,000 words, completing the challenge. She wrote to the end of the draft and has big plans for it.
“I definitely wanna rework some things and eventually try to publish it,” Koch said.
For more information on the NaNoWriMo writing challenge, click here.