Marquette Wire

MUWriMo challenges writers to commit

Students involved set personal goals to help finish written works

Photo by Martin Springborg

Photo by Martin Springborg

Ryan McCarthy

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To many students, the idea of writing nearly 2,000 words a day seems like torture. For some of the participants in Marquette University Writing Month, or MUWriMo, it is par for the course.

The event, which is organized by the Ott Memorial Writing Center, is Marquette’s own take on the increasingly popular National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. MUWriMo is open to the entire Marquette community as well as nearby members of the Milwaukee community.

Participants are encouraged to set their own personal goals, whether it is to simply outline a paper or something much more ambitious, like a 60,000 word novel. The writing center keeps a google doc where participants can update their daily progress.

Catherine Simmerer, a Marquette English teaching assistant and a graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, sees MUWriMo as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a novel. She has attempted NaNoWriMo in the past but is confident this year.

“My aim is to accomplish 1667 words a day, to arrive at more or less 50,000 by November 30,” Simmerer said. “I can usually write 1,000 in an hour if I focus and duct tape my inner editor to a chair in the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul.”

Her focus has waned at times, but Simmerer said she remains committed to reaching her goal of someday finishing a novel. She finds that every new attempt she makes brings her closer to that goal.

“I have found writing comes and goes in spurts, but the ideas are always there, and they begin to snowball over time,” Simmerer said. “I often find myself lifting themes, characters, and even plot points from old attempts and re-imagining them for a new story.”

Eliana Winterbauer-Light, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, saw MUWriMo as a chance to develop her ability to think creatively and become inspired.

“The goal of my project was simply to engage my creativity on a daily basis,” Winterbauer-Light said. “Even as a member of Live Poets Society, my poetry has always has been the result of sporadic inspiration. I want to become a writer who can habitually conjure an inspired state of mind.”

In order to promote MUWriMo, the writing center organized two writing retreats. The final retreat is being held Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Raynor Suite A. Participants can preregister on the writing center’s website.

“The writing retreats tend to have some goal setting at the start, some food in the middle and then some wrapping up at the end,” said Rebecca Nowacek, the director of the writing center. “During some writing retreats people have what they call word wars – a little competition to see who can write the most words in a set period of time.”

Nowacek said that writing can often be a lonely endeavor, and that events like MUWriMo build camaraderie in a community of writers.

“Personally, I hope that writers across campus will connect with each other and feel supported in their writing,” Nowacek said. “MUWriMo exists to provide encouragement and camaraderie for writers.”

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