Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. What do all of these books have in common? They all began as National Novel Writing Month projects! Originally launched in 1999, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is an online creative writing project whose participants are encouraged to reach 50,000 words during the month of November. Since its inception, NaNoWriMo has had several spinoff writing projects, including NaPoWriMo, whose goal is to have its participants write a poem every day during the month of April. February and March were deemed “Now What?” months, where participants with completed novels can receive help with the editing and revision process. While NaNoWriMo has participants from all over the world, public libraries throughout the state of Maryland are working hard to help local writers reach their potential.
Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) has an entire page of their website dedicated to NaNoWriMo where patrons can share their word count by entering their NaNoWriMo username and their library card number and a leaderboard chart appears on the page. There’s also a list of published books that started as NaNoWriMo projects and a schedule of Write-Ins at various branches are printed as well.
Other library systems are promoting the phenomena on social media, such as Calvert Library, who created Facebook posts offering that library staff would assist participants with their research via databases and the nonfiction collection, and provide quiet work places. Prince George’s County Memorial Library System advertised writers groups at their branches.
Carroll County Public Library had a big kick-off on November 1st at their Taneytown Branch. They tell their participants up front that for the goal of 50,000 words throughout the month, that’s an average of 1,667 words a day. They enticed potential writers by offering door prizes and hosting several drawings. Howard County Library System made all writers welcome by offering an open space with tables, outlets, and refreshments.
In Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Library had published author Yvonne Medley host a midway event at their Waldorf West Branch to discuss writers’ progress and offer help to reach the targeted goal of 50,000 words. St. Mary’s County Library is also encouraging their local NaNoWriMo participants to try and achieve the goal of 1,667 words a day, telling patrons it is okay to bring their dinner, emphasizing their free Wi-Fi and a collaborative atmosphere.
Libraries throughout Maryland continue to be an invaluable presence in their communities, including their November efforts to actively encourage any potential local writers to participate in this global project. Aspiring writers are encouraged to visit their local libraries every month of the year because there are resources available all of the time to assist them in their publishing endeavors. Hopefully, one day Marylanders can be proud to be from the same state as a debut author who got their start participating in NaNoWriMo.
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