No plan? No problem! There's still time to reach out to writers and get your library ready for November.
Only just heard about NaNoWriMo (or just realized that November is coming up faster than you thought)? That's OK! It's not too late to reach out to writers in your community. Here is everything you need to get started.
NaNoWriMo: The basics
National Novel Writing Month takes place every November. The initiative's main goal is to promote a sense of creative community, encouraging participants to write 50,000 words — the word count for a traditional novel — in 30 days. The free event has been around since the late 1990s, but it has taken off in the past few years with extra help from social media. Last year, almost half a million people participated around the world.
This event is for everyone who has dreamed of writing their novel, or those who just need that extra deadline boost to get into the habit of writing. Every community has authors-in-waiting; however, we don't always see them because writing can be an isolating and internal exercise. NaNoWriMo helps foster a sense of community for writers of all ages and walks of life, which makes it a natural programming fit for any library.
No plan? No problem
You may be thinking it's a little late to book and promote any events — but don't worry! You don't need to book authors, plan parties or teach classes (although if you have the budget and work well under pressure, have at it). All you really have to do is get the word out that your library is a writer-friendly stop.
You can officially register with NaNoWriMo and become a Come Write In stop. This means that if a participant in your community is looking for a supportive place to write, your library will show up on the list.
Even if you don't register as an official stop, you can still market to writers in your community on a local level. Is there a meeting room or a quiet corner you can designate as a writing stop? Cozy chairs, snacks, and inspirational book suggestions will draw writers to your library.
The next level
For a bit more program formality, consider hosting a "write in" where patrons can gather at a certain date and time to meet their daily writing goal. Patrons can also participate in "writing sprints" where they write as much as possible in 20 minutes. These can include writing prompts to jog creativity; check out Writer's Digest's list of prompts for inspiration.
For more formal participation, check out NaNoWriMo's website for program ideas throughout the month. You may also want to give out prizes to writers who reach their goal, like DC Public Library did for their participants. Looking to create a special and practical gift? In 2013, the Corvalis-Benton County Public Library in Oregon published a book of novel excerpts that were created in their community during NaNoWriMo.
Libraries all over the world are supporters of NaNoWriMo. After all, what could be better than an evening spent soaking up the inspirational energy of writers in your community? If you've held a NaNoWriMo event in your library, tell us about it!