NaNoWriMo... confused? Read on...

By Contributor
November 13th, 2012

Since November 1 you may have been hearing furious keyboard pounding echoing around the world. Fear not, it is the sound of more than 250,000 people beginning a literary challenge of epic proportions: 30 days, 50,000 words, and one original novel.

Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the world’s largest writing event and nonprofit literary crusade. Participants pledge to write 50,000 words in a month, starting from scratch and reaching “The End” by Nov. 30.

There are no judges, no prizes, and entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them. The Grand Forks Public Library is hoping to have a published author at the end of the month celebrating NaNoWriMo.

“NaNoWriMo is the writing world’s version of a marathon,” said Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month. “Writers exit the month with more than a novel; they’ve experienced a transformative creative journey.”

More than 650 regional volunteers in more than 60 countries are holding write-ins, hosting writers in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. Write-ins offer a supportive environment and surprisingly effective peer pressure, turning the usually solitary act of writing into a community experience.

“Not only did I write 50,000 words by Nov. 30, I also had cheerleaders from the next block, from across the Atlantic and fromNaNoWriMo daily blogs,” said participant, Twana Biram. “Imagine getting pep talks through the heavy irony and hilarity of Lemony Snicket, and the clarity and appreciation of fan fiction from Mercedes Lackey.”

Although the event emphasizes creativity and adventure over creating a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels begun duringNaNoWriMo have since been published, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Cinder by Marissa Meyer, all #1 New York Times Best Sellers.

“You can’t revise what isn’t written yet, right? This novel-in-a-month challenge is such a fantastic way to jump-start your story,” said Lindsey Grant, NaNoWriMo’s Program Director. “Plus it is officially the most fun—and effective—way to shed the constant self-doubts and inner-criticisms and simply pour that story onto the page.”

For more information on National Novel Writing Month, or to speak to NaNoWriMo participants in your area, visit www.nanowrimo.org or contact press@nanowrimo.org.

Throughout the month of November The Grand Forks Public Library will be hosting “write-ins” every Tuesday afternoon in Grand Forks (2 -4 p.m.) and Wednesday afternoons at The Christina Lake Living Arts Centre (1 – 3 p.m.) Call 250-442-3944 for more information.

The Office of Letters and Light is a California-based international non-profit organization. Its programs are the largest literary events in the world. Learn more at www.lettersandlight.org.