Inspiring writers can now feel free to rest their fingers until next year.

The National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, came to a close as of midnight Dec. 1. From the beginning to the end of the month of November, participants are tasked to write 50,000 words. 

The Ball State English Department made more efforts to attract both students and Muncie community members, which included student-run social media and write-ins.

“More involvement, more people engaged on the social media aspects and we’ve had a lot more attendance at the write-ins than I’ve expected,” said Angela Cox, an instructor of English and the competition coordinator at Ball State. 

The leaderboard was last updated Nov. 29 at 12:22 p.m. and said that there are 65 participants with a total word count of over 1 million words. Cox said there was a 220 percent increase of participants since 2014.

Cox said the participation and support of Ball State and the participants has been stronger than expected.

“A lot of text has been generated. A lot of people have been very excited,” Cox said. “I think it’s been a very positive experience for people who have fully participated in the events and resources that we’ve offered.”

Cox said that the student-run social media campaigns and groups on Facebook and Twitter have also been great by using these tools to create community and promote the competition. 

Karley Sharkey, a senior rhetoric and composition major, has been doing NaNoWriMo for eight years. This year, despite missing quite a bit of writing toward the beginning of the month, was still able to finish the 50,000 words.

“I like the fact at the end of it I can say, ‘I wrote a novel,’” Sharkey said. “I’ve been writing for a really long time so I may as well do it for a purpose instead of just for me. That way I have a community I can share this experience with too.” 

Kathryn Reitman, a freshman creative writing major, heard about the competition in an email. Reitman decided to go to the first write-in, and despite not having planned to do it before, decided to go ahead and participate in the competition.

“Since I want to spend the rest of my life writing books I was like, ‘This would be a good place to start,’” Retiman said. “It really helps to be surrounded by people with the same type of goal in mind.”

Although Reitman said she is not on track to finish the competition, she is going to participate next year, and will try to remain more focused in order to finish writing all 50,000 words. 

Cox said that she will also participate again next year. Although this time around, she said hopes to work on a research project on how people experience NaNoWriMo. 

“The goal this year was to create community, and I think we succeeded," Cox said. "I know I’ve seen lot of people working with friends, roommates and so on to encourage each other. This is a success.” 

Contact Andrew Harp with comments at or on Twitter at @retr0andrew.