What’s more exciting than pumpkin spice in the fall, sledding in October, and the feast, feast, feasting season? NaNoWriMo, of course.
Not familiar with NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, a project begun more than 20 years ago by a couple of dozen writers in the San Francisco area who challenged each other to write 50,000 words in a month. The project has since grown into a worldwide phenomenon with half a million people participating each November. You can visit nanowrimo.org to learn more. The website is filled with excellent resources, including inspiration and networking opportunities in our region and online. There is even a youth writing program connected to NaNo. You can find youth specific resources at ywp.nanowrimo.org/.
National Novel Writing Month can really just be an opportunity to be inspired to write the book, poem, article, memoir, that you have been dreaming about for years. This November, the Potlatch and Troy branches of the Latah County Library District will be hosting NaNoWriMo Motivational Mondays, a take-home program for all ages. Each Monday, aspiring authors can pick up a brown paper bag filled with worksheets, treats, crafts and other assorted goodies to help them write their novel, or just help them on their journey to learn more about being an author. There is no registration required and no overseer ensuring that you get your word count in. But there is an official NaNoWriMo chart on display that participants can update their progress and see how they are stacking up against other writers in the community. And lots of encouragement to try your hand at writing.
The Latah County Library District is host to many other writing resources. Need to research your topics? The library has what you need with both digital and hard copies of nonfiction books. If Valnet does not have what you are looking for, put in a request and our interlibrary loan service will help you locate books from all over the country. Khaliela Wright, president of the Palouse Writer’s Guild, has had the ILL service order books from the Library of Congress (an archaeological cookbook), Colorado School of Mines (metallurgic maps), Berkeley (a Proto-Celtic dictionary), among others. She says, “If you find what you want and where it is, the entire catalog listing, the ILL service will find it for you. If you are connected to one of the universities, you can find books through them, as well.” An excellent resource to find unusual books is www.worldcat.org/.
The resources at the library don’t stop at books. There are writing DVDs and an assortment of free nonfiction digital resources including Universal Class, which has 55 courses specifically about writing, including: Novel writing 101, Romance Writing, Historical Fiction Writing, and loads more creative writing classes to help you sharpen your skills.
The library district is just the tip of the iceberg of rich writing resources located all over the Palouse. Take a little trip to palousewritersguild.org/, and you will find an assortment of writers groups that meet all over the Palouse.
If you’ve been dreaming up a story, now is a great time to start. Check out the resources we have in our community and online, make some writing buddies, pick up a Monday motivation kit in Potlatch or Troy, and get to work. We can’t wait to see your creations show up in our libraries.
Beth Tunnell is the Potlatch Library branch manager.