At the Library: It’s National Novel-Writing Month!

At the Library: It’s National Novel-Writing Month!

The Westerly Sun

November is generally thought of (in the United States, at any rate) as the month of Thanksgiving, as well as the beginning of the chaos that we call “The Holiday Season.” In recent years, though, it has also been celebrated by authors and aspiring writers nationwide! November is officially known as National Life Writing Month, National Family Literacy Month, and our personal favorite: National Novel Writing Month.

You may be wondering whether this is just another random monthly observance that nobody really pays attention to … and that is a legitimate question. After all, November is also designated as “National Pepper Month” and “Banana Pudding Lovers Month”, and — unless I’ve simply missed the memo — I haven’t seen too many people passionately celebrating these campaigns. However, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, if you’re in the know) was established nearly two decades ago and continues to gain steam each year, with over 350,000 people predicted to participate in 2017.

So, what is it? NaNoWriMo is something of a writing marathon in which aspiring writers are challenged to complete a 50,000-word novel over the course of 30 days. While the endgame is the same for everyone, the reason for participating varies; for some, this is a great opportunity to stretch their creative muscles and get back into the writing game. Other writers take part with the hope of publishing their work. Considering the fact that at least 80 novels that began as NaNoWriMo projects have been published by the “Big 5” book publishers (including Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl”), it seems that no goal is too great!

One of the best things about NaNoWriMo, and one of the reasons why it continues to be so successful, is the sense of community and support that comes along with it. NaNoWriMo actually became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit back in 2005, and their website ( offers a ton of support and resources to participants. By creating a free account, you can take part in online forum discussions, find writing buddies, and stay on-track and motivated with tools such as Badges, the Goal Tracker, and “Word Sprint” timers. It’s a great way to take the leap from “I want to write a book someday” to “I’m writing a novel.”

As always, the library has a number of resources to help you on your quest. On Saturdays we will have tables in the Reference Department reserved for NaNoWriMo participants where you can plug in your laptop/device, brainstorm, and connect with other writers. We also have a number of great books that can help inspire you, whether that be a simple guide to writing, or a well-worn copy of Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.”

So, let’s get started! We’re almost a week into the month, but it’s not too late to “Come Write In” with NaNoWriMo!

Top-requested books■1. “Don’t Let Go” by Harlan Coben■2. “The Midnight Line” by Lee Child■3. “Two Kinds of Truth” by Michael Connelly■4. “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham■5. “Y is for Yesterday” by Sue Grafton■6. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng■7. “Origin” by Dan Brown■8. “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles■9. “What Happened” by Hillary Rodham Clinton■10. “Hardcore Twenty-Four” by Janet Evanovich

Top-requested movies■1. “Dunkirk”■2. “Baby Driver”■3. “War for the Planet of the Apes”■4. “Spider-Man: Homecoming”■5. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”■6. “Despicable Me 3”■7. “The Book of Henry”■8. “Wonder Woman”■9. “The Dark Tower”■10. “Atomic Blonde”

Top billingFor All Ages■MONDAY — 10:00 a.m.-3 p.m., HealthSource Rhode Island Enrollment Event – Swing by to get assistance with signing up for coverage or renewing your insurance! Check out our online calendar, or give us a call, for more information on what you need to bring with you.■TUESDAY — 3:30-4:30 p.m., Teen Writer’s Workshop - We’ll have snacks, writing prompts, and time for everyone to share their work; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit & Crochet Club – Bring your project, work on a project with others, or swap yarn and ideas with fellow yarnies; 6-8 p.m., Artists and Social Media – Join us for an interactive presentation and demonstration on various social media platforms, and how you can use them to promote and share your creative works; 6-6:45 p.m., Meditation Group – Work on your mindfulness and breathing on the 3rd floor terrace room.■WEDNESDAY — 10-11 a.m., 1-to-3-Year-Old Storytime – Bring your little ones to the library and enjoy a fun-filled, interactive storytime; 11-11:45 a.m., Homeschooler’s Book Group (FULL) – The book for this session is Capture the Flag by Kate Messner; 6-7:45 p.m., Shoreline Robotics – Shoreline Robotics will be meeting in our Makerspace biweekly. Meetings are for teens aged 12-17 only.■THURSDAY — 10-11 a.m., 3 to 5 Year-Old Storytime – Join us for an hour full of stories, rhymes and crafting fun; 10-11:30 a.m. OR 6-7:30 p.m., iPad Photography Workshop – Don’t miss this interactive workshop covering the basics of photography on an iPad. This workshop will be held at two separate times, and registration is required; 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Mother’s Group – Enjoy some downtime with other moms while your little ones play and socialize together; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome. Chess sets and roll up boards will be provided.■FRIDAY — 2:30-5:30 p.m., Free Create Friday – Drop by to exercise your creative muscles with our iPads! Draw on sketching apps, make music with Garage Band, or edit and enhance your photos…the possibilities are endless; 2-5 p.m., Group Paint – Channel your creativity and work with others to create an interesting work of art during this Teen group painting activity;■SATURDAY — The library will be closed for Veteran’s Day.

Cassie Skobrak is a reference librarian at the Westerly Library.


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