Write your way through November with NaNoWriMo

By Aimee Johnson

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an annual literary marathon that involves writing 50,000 words during the month of November. The idea behind this insane sounding challenge is to pack away the biggest foils many writers and would-be writers struggle with—procrastination and self-criticism. Chris Baty, author of No Plot? No Problem! and the mad genius behind NaNoWriMo, kicked off the event in 1999 when he discovered the power of a break neck deadline for sticking to a writing habit.

Since then, NaNoWriMo has swept the writing nation during the month of November. Municipal liaisons for the event, such as myself, act as regional chapter heads and organize local events. One such event is my upcoming Craft Talk “Our Novel Starts Here: How to Tackle National Novel Writing Month” held on Thursday, October 20 from 7pm - 9pm at the L.E. Philips Public Library. At the Craft Talk, I’ll explain how NaNoWriMo works, what to do prepare for it, and some sweet tips and tricks for staying on track.

In addition to the Craft Talk, the WriMos of Eau Claire will be hosting a bunch of events for participating writers throughout the month:

The Kick-Off Party is a great opportunity for interested local writers to get together before NaNoWriMo actually starts. It's a chance to have questions answered, get to know your NaNoWriMo municipal liaison, get important dates for your region, play games, plot your novel, and pick up your official NaNoWriMo swag. This year it will be held at the L.E. Phillips Library in the Eau Claire Room on Saturday, October 29 from 1pm - 4pm.  

Write-ins are staple events held throughout November. Participants gather to work on their novels as a group. It’s a perfect way to boost your word count by writing alongside your fellow WriMos. The combined energy of a room full of writers is a powerful thing—come harness some of that for your own novel writing success! Dates and times for Eau Claire’s write-ins can be found here.

Night of Writing Dangerously is a mega write-in and fundraiser! This is the only NaNoWriMo event that you have to pay to attend, but it's for a good cause. The money goes to NaNoWriMo and in turn funds literacy programs. We’ll have word-sprints, contests, and a candy potluck. You don't want to miss out on the fun. It will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Social Hall Saturday, November 19 from 10pm - 2am. If you’re interested, register by emailing me at aimeedbj@gmail.com.

The Wrap-Up Party is held after the event ends and allows participants to celebrate the end of our writing marathon, congratulate, commiserate, play games, and get chance to talk about our future novel plans. We will meet at The Pub Bar and Grill in Action City on Sunday, December 4 from 12:30 - 3:30pm.  

To stay on top of the word count goal, participants have to write 1,667 words, or about 3 pages, every single day. The benefits include a permission slip to put writing at the top of your to-do list, living out the fantasy of being a "real" writer, if only for 30 days, and discovering that a few stolen minutes to work on your novel quickly add up into pages and chapters that might not normally have been written without such a motivator. 

Turn off your inner editor, sign up at NaNoWriMo.org, and come join us this November!