It strikes me as somewhat counterintuitive that writing should be as difficult as it is. After all, writing is arguably the most accessible of the creative arts: get a pen, get some paper, get an idea, and write it down. Simplifying the process to such a degree is, while technically correct, nonetheless laughable. For example, I spent well over an hour trying to figure out some way to write an opening paragraph for this article that wasn’t “everybody has a story” and it hasn’t even been an especially good opening paragraph. Imagine then the amount of effort that must go into writing an entire novel! Thank goodness for NaNoWriMo.
No, I didn’t type that on a smart phone; NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The concept is easy: devote this November to writing your novel. You know your novel – that one idea floating lazily about in the nether regions of your brain’s “bucket list,” the one that you’ve said to yourself, “Wow, that would make a really great book.” But you’ve never quite had the time or the inclination. Well, much like the gym in January, NaNoWriMo gives you the formal opportunity to actually get started.
Have a look at http://www.nanowrimo.org. On the official website you’ll be able to create an author profile, share information about yourself and your work and track the progress of your novel. Aspiring writers, both local and national, can network via forums dealing with a wide variety of topics such as genres, marketing and promotion, and how to keep the writing process going. There is so much information there you might find the site the ultimate form of procrastination from your writing; you’d think I was being cynical, but there is actually a forum devoted to “Games, Diversions, and Other Exciting Forms of Procrastination” with 68 separate threads and over 6000 posts. And if you’re looking for some inspiration from the pros, the site is host to lots of “pep talks” from popular authors like Piers Anthony, Meg Cabot, Neil Gaiman, Sue Grafton, Katherine Paterson, and more. Younger writers can go to ywp.nanowrimo.org to participate.
Once you’ve made yourself at home on the website, pay a visit to your nearest library branch. CRRL is home to numerous tools to help you in your writing. Need a place to work? Try our free public computers equipped with high-speed Internet and Microsoft Office. Got your own laptop? Hop on the free wifi at any of our branches. Need some works to inspire you? We’ve got a few thousand novels you might enjoy. And there are numerous non-fiction volumes devoted to helping people write and get published including but certainly not limited to:
- Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market
- Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies
- Writing the Paranormal Novel: Techniques and Exercises for Weaving Supernatural Elements into your Story
- 90 Days to your Novel: A Day-by-Day Plan for Outlining & Writing Your Book
- The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel Book: From Writing the Perfect Love Scene to Finding the Right Publisher - All you Need to Fulfill your Dreams
- No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
In addition to the above resources which are available year-round, the library will also be hosting a fiction writing workshop in early November at the Porter Branch featuring author Traci Hunter Abramson. The Porter Branch has also set aside a meeting room for NaNoWriMo participants to use every Monday and Friday during November. But perhaps most excellent of all, CRRL will accept the submissions of the first chapter of your novels and host them on librarypoint.org. This is a fantastic way for your work to gain exposure and be read by digital visitors from all over the world. See the bottom of the article for full details on all these events.