If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a novel, here’s your chance to get started.
November is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month – a worldwide event that’s devoted to finding new voices and building creative-writing communities from Moab to Mumbai.
NaNoWriMo presents aspiring and established authors with the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, and thanks to a strong network of fellow writers, the task isn’t as daunting as it might sound.
“It’s a great opportunity to socialize with other writers,” Moab author and NaNoWriMo participant S.V. Farnsworth said.
The event also gives participants the chance to turn to their peers for help.
“You can ask any silly question that you’ve ever wanted to ask, and a lot of people will help you,” Farnsworth said.
Although authors may choose to work from their own homes, the Grand County Library is setting its board meeting room aside for group “write-ins” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (The library will be closed on Saturday, Nov. 29, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.)
Meg Flynn, who works as the library’s head of adult services, said the facility’s staff members are committed to creating the right environment for NaNoWriMo participants.
“Our goal is to provide a comfortable, quiet, communal place for writers to work on their projects; we also made sure that there were plenty of plugs available for laptop power, if necessary,” Flynn said.
She traced her involvement in the event back to a library patron who reached out to her earlier this year.
“She thought that the library would be an excellent venue, and I agreed,” Flynn said.
While group hours at the library are limited, Flynn encourages writers to use the facility as a writing space beyond the scheduled write-in times.
So far, the local response to the event has been strong: A NaNoWriMo pre-workshop brought a group of 14 local writers together, according to Flynn.
If anyone else is interested in joining the group, there’s still time to get started, and Farnsworth said that latecomers shouldn’t worry about the goal of committing 50,000 words to paper or digital file.
“You don’t have to meet them to enjoy it,” Farnsworth said.
Ann Gordon, who serves as president of the League of Utah Writers’ Just Write Chapter, said that writers can pick up valuable skills during NaNoWriMo.
In her case, Gordon said the compressed time frame forces her to keep her editing tendencies in check.
“It is totally different than any way I’ve ever written,” she said. “It’s just a real challenge for me.”
She believes it can help others move beyond the same obstacles.
“If they have problems like that – the constant editing problems – NaNo is a good way to get past that,” Gordon said.
With only so much time to write each day, writers are also kept from dilly-dallying.
“You can’t procrastinate with NaNo,” Gordon said.
Likewise, Farnsworth said there’s one simple trick to meeting NaNoWriMo’s goals.
“You don’t over-think it – you just write it,” she said.
Fortunately, the event’s rules allow participants to work on character profiles, story outlines and writing exercises ahead of time, according to Farnsworth. With those details mapped out in advance, Farnsworth said it’s easy to meet the event’s writing goal of 2,000 words a day.
“It only takes a couple of hours a day to do the word count,” she said.
For more information, go to nanowrimo.org. You can also contact Grand County Library Head of Adult Services Meg Flynn at 435-259-1111, ext. 11.
Library hosts National Novel Writing Month
If you go:
What: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
Where: Grand County Library Board Room, 257 E. Center St.
When: Tuesdays and Wednesdays in November from 9 a.m. to noon; next two Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.