If you read the Danville Register, the Star-Tribune, or watch WSET-TV, you may already be aware that, at midnight on November 1, armed only with their wits, the vague outline of a story, and a ridiculous deadline, more than 250,000 people around the world set out to become novelists.
Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing challenge and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by November 30. Some of them will be working on those novels here at the library in Chatham. We call it “Come Write In,” which is the library arm of the Nanowrimo movement.
We can’t write that novel for you, but the library will provide a supportive environment, including beverages and snacks to keep that energy flowing. Local writers are always on the lookout for a good place to write, and the library is a great hub for grassroots communities of writers to gather, discuss their work, and, of course, produce that one-month novel.
“The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity,” says NaNoWriMo Founder and Executive Director Chris Baty. “When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both. Also, it’s a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month.” Write-ins at libraries and other venues offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience. We also have some books that will help with the process.
Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels begun during NaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, both #1 New York Times Best Sellers. [I’ll review The Night Circus in my next post].
Those that sign up and return to the library here to work on their novel will receive a very nice thumb drive, so that at the end of the month, you have a way of saving that masterpiece.