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Saint Mary’s senior takes on national writing challenge

| Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Writers across the country will turn the page on another year of NaNoWriMo — short for National Novel Writing Month — on Wednesday.

Saint Mary’s senior Mary Brophy said she plans to participate in the month-long writing program.

“It is a program where you are racing against yourself to write a novella-length story that is usually around 80 pages long,” she said.  “The cutoff is usually 50,000 words … and if you reach that at the end of the month then you get a series of prizes.”

Brophy said she has participated in the program for a number of years.

“This is my fifth year doing it,” she said. “I started as a junior in high school and I have been doing it ever since —except [for] sophomore year.”

Ultimately, Brophy said, she decided to take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in order to push herself. She said she used to write with a friend, who encouraged her to try the program.

“[Writing novels] is something I really enjoy, so I thought that having the opportunity to really push myself would be a good idea,” she said.

Year after year, Brophy said she continues to return to the program because she wants to continue to test her limits.

“I decided it would be a good challenge for me to keep on doing it, over and over again [each year] to keep pushing my boundaries of what I think I can write in a certain amount of time,” she said.

Brophy said the program has helped her get her ideas from her mind to the page, as the specific timeframe helps her to focus.

“Having one month where I say this is the one thing I am going to focus on and then going through that entire story as much as I can is a good release for me to figure out how that story is going to work out.” she said “ … Having that basis there and being able to get out all of the ideas and figure out if the story is going to work at all is good for me.”

The program is important for those who cannot start the process of sitting down and writing, Brophy said.

“It is a great way for people to really practice their writing and also just to get ideas out,” she said. “I am the kind of person who thinks way too much about what I’m trying to write and I end up putting things off for forever because it never feels like the right time. NaNoWriMo is a great time to put aside those thoughts … and just get words out.”

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