Did you know that we have a published author working at Ohrstrom Library? It’s true! So this month, we asked Ms. Maxwell to tell us a little bit about NaNoWriMo:
“This November, Ohrstrom Library is celebrating the art of fiction with National Novel Writing Month. In theory, participating in NaNoWriMo means signing a pledge to write 50,000 words in November, which equates to roughly 200 double-spaced pages. Sound crazy?
It sort of is. It’s a lot of words in a very short time. But to me, the power of NaNoWriMo lies in its acknowledgement that writing can’t happen unless we sit down and write; and it also can’t happen if our standards are too high. I spent eight years in higher education studying writing, and another decade writing books, and the most helpful piece of advice I ever received was, “Lower your standards.” To get a first draft written, you just have to lower your standards and get words on paper. From there, you can rewrite and restructure and edit for years. But first, you have to get words–any words–on paper.
I’m working on a new novel, and for the first time in my life I thought I would sign up for NaNoWriMo and try to write a first draft in an insanely short period of time. People have done it, and come up with beautiful books! I’m on the fence about whether or not I’ll actually go through with the pledge, but NaNoWriMo has at least inspired me to carve out periods of time this month in which I stop thinking so much and instead just quickly get words on the page.
On Sundays in November, you can drop in to join me between 2 – 5 p.m. in the Tower Room to do the same. I’ll have snacks, tea, and writing prompts, and I’ll be available to answer your questions about studying writing, finding agents and publishers, and anything else about writing that you might want to ask!”
Below are books whose first drafts were written during NaNoWriMo. How many have you read?