By Joslyn Lang
When most people think of fall days in November, what comes to mind may be cooler weather, holidays, football games, and pumpkin-spiced everything. What comes to mind to writers in November is National Novel Writing Month or “NaNoWriMo”. NaNOWriMo takes place during the whole month of November, ending at 11:59pm on November 30. It is an annual internet-based creative writing project that challenges and encourages writers to write a minimum of 50,000 words in order to begin the process of their novel.
NaNoWriMo’s goal is to keep writers inspired during the whole month. For libraries, NaNoWriMo is a way to connect with their community to support those “would-be” novelists to finish their first drafts. In the article, “Montclair Library Celebrates National Novel Writers Month” by Bob Cannon, readers find just one more way that writing is celebrated. Cannon notes that in recent years, he has heard the notion that print may become dead. However, he declares that this is not the case, or thinking at Montclair Public Library during NaNOWriMo. During November on Fridays from 2 to 6pm, Montclair Public Library hosts a series of writer drop-ins, where they partner with The Write Group and Watchung Booksellers.
In the conference room at Montclair Public Library, writers get to experience working on their drafts in a supportive environment where they receive that extra push of moral support that may get that draft that never seems to get finished, finished. But Montclair does much more than just set up a room for writers to work on their novels. They have expanded to target a broader audience by having speakers come in, as well as providing other incentives. This allows people who may not normally walk in to participate in NaNOWriMo to stumble in by the incentives, such as prizes and drawings. The Write Group is also planning on launching a database, where writers can upload their book, and if it gets chosen, will be made into an eBook that is shared across the country.
A Montclair local author’s panel is another way that the community is connecting with one another while also showing the importance of celebrating local authors. Eveline Speedie, a member of The Write Group stressed that NaNOWriMo is all about celebrating local writers and is happy to be “…providing a small community for people to join. It’s for support, it’s for networking, it’s for utilizing the programs that the Library kindly works with us on providing to the community.” Montclair Public Library encourages anyone who is interested in writing a novel, even those with no experience to come out and join NaNoWriMo and the events. While NaNoWriMo’s end goal is to have completed the 50,000 words, Speedie sympathizes with the ones that do not finish a novel during the month. “That’s the beauty of NaNo,” said Speedie. “I don’t think everybody finishes. But the idea is to encourage people to think ’finish,’ and if you don’t, you’re not a failure. You’ve started something.”