National Novel Writing Month

So November is National Novel Writing Month. What are you doing at your library?

Being rather new, I didn’t have much lead time on preparing for this. I contacted the University Writing Center and worked with two of the people in charge there to plan a few events. We started in mid-October and on very short notice (at least as far as event planning at the university goes) got posters made, arranged catering for a kickoff party, and got the word out electronically.

All told, we had about 20 people show up for the kickoff party on Nov. 1. I had planned to do a little spiel about what NaNoWriMo is, but all but one person already knew what it was and had even done it before! So I pretty much just got out of the way and let them chat amongst themselves. They chatted about their stories, about how they prefer to work, and so on… Then several of them broke out their laptops and started doing “sprints.” So that seemed to go well!

We also planned to host four “write ins” through the month. The Writing Center is doing two of them. They selected a day when the Writing Center closes early so that they could have an after-hours event, so Writing Center folks can join in as soon as they finish their duties. I haven’t talked to them to see how their first one went.

The Library is hosting the other two. I tried to hit some other days, hoping that it would work for people who can’t make it on the day/time combo the Writing Center picked. The first one was last night, from 5-8 pm. I was a bit worried at first, because only one person showed up around 5:00. The next novelist didn’t show up until close to 6:00. But, all told, five people showed up and were actually writing. Not a huge number, but not too shabby.

For next year, I’ll definitely start planning earlier! And I’ll put more in to figuring out the best times to schedule the write ins. This year I guessed and tried to hit some different times and days, but I have no idea yet whether I made good guesses.

So, again, what are you doing at your library? What have you done that I should try next year?

One thought on “National Novel Writing Month

  1. Even writers who don’t finish their novel this month can win a prize, via the unofficial NaNoWriMo Best First Line Contest. First prize is $100, second is $50, third is $25, and seven runners-up get a copy of the book, “Your Writing Coach.” No entry fee and the deadline is Dec. 4. Details and entry at

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