National Novel Writing Month in November

novelFor those aspiring writers in the area November is fast approaching and with it comes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), an internet-based writing event that challenges those would be writers amongst us to push themselves to create that novel they have been dreaming of writing for so long. The challenge asks writers to begin and finish a 50,000 word novel in a thirty day period, starting at the beginning of November and concluding at the end of the month.

Since its inception in 1999 starting with only 21 participants it has since expanded its base to a hefty 341,375 would-be writers in 2012. Not all those that begin are capable of finishing the challenge, but that isn’t necessarily the point. The point of the challenge is to push oneself past the dreaded writers block and the finicky and exacting nature of the writer and to simply place something on the page. Elizabeth Halvorsen, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for the region had this to say, “The short self-imposed deadline pushes people out of interminable musing and into a first draft.” You do not have to face the challenge alone though, the team at NaNoWriMo doesn’t simply set forth the monstrous task but encourages those wishing to write to speak with one another and get the support that is sometimes sorely needed. The organization provides writers assistance and encourages aspiring writers to seek the advice and help of other writers, providing both moral support as well as shared experiences which can prove invaluable to a writer.

The skill level of NaNoWriMo is variable but has seen its fair share of success stories, famous authors have both participated in the endeavor as well as offered their assistance to those that are participating. Brandon Sanderson, Lemony Snickett, and Neil Gaiman are just some of the authors that have helped contribute to the event. There have even been a few notable submissions that have gone on to become published novels including; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, to name a few. Don’t be discouraged if you’re an amateur author because NaNoWriMo encourages authors of all skill levels to participate, it isn’t so much about creating a masterpiece as much as gaining the experience that an event like this creates, a push to write anything just for the sake of creation, because we all know that simply staring at that blank page can be a daunting task in itself, Elizabeth had this to say, “The focus of NaNoWriMo is really quantity over quality, and I think that can be an important lesson—quality can come later, but it’s hard to polish something you haven’t written down.”

There will be a few local events in the Corvallis area for those curious about NaNoWriMo or those preparing to partake in the event to attend. Here are just a few coming soon: The Corvallis library is donating space on October 26th for a pre-NaNo workshop and on most Saturdays in November for write-ins. The Red Daisy Coffee Co. in Albany has also offered space to write on Mondays in November. More events are in the planning stages and will be displayed on their region page as venues are confirmed. You can check out their website at for more information.

By John Rosales