For the non-obsessive writers among you, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a period of 30 days formerly known as “November” that involves frenzied nonstop fiction formulating with a total goal of 50,000 words by the 30th. The focus is on quantity, not quality. Producing 50,000 words in 30 days pretty much guarantees that your inner editor had better shut up, or you’ll never get there. What a liberating idea! You don’t need to be good; you just need to sit down and write.
This novel challenge (dreamed up by NaNoWriMo founder and freelance writer Chris Baty) began in 1999 with 21 writers, and has grown over the years from a personal project to an international phenomenon numbering, in 2009, 119,301 adult participants and more than 35,000 kids and teens in 1,200 classrooms. A few years ago, NaNoWriMo started a wildly popular international Youth Writing Project; 3,000 school and library groups are participating this year.The YWP has its own very appealing website and resources for teachers.
|NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program website|
They also have the coolest merch in their fundraising shop. There’s a new poster each year, new designs for tote bags and t-shirts and mugs, and — my favorite of all — merit badges. Real ones, like the kind your older sister had all over her Girl Scout sash. These aren’t for starting fires and doing community service, though; they’re for things like Caffeine Abuse, Word-Count Padding, Random Ending, and Victory.
Great NaNoWriMo Book Drive, which enlists the help of people from all over the country to collect used books, send them to be sold at an independent online bookstore, which donates the proceeds to the organization and literacy efforts. The book drive guide says it best: “To run this book drive, we have partnered with Better World Books, a socially conscious online book store that has diverted 33 million books from landfills and raised more than $8 million for its nonprofit literacy partners by selling used and new books online. Better World Books provides the online book drive portal, sends free supplies, transports the books, and offers guidance for book drive coordinators.” Bookstores might consider starting a book drive in their regions this year or next.
|Picture Book Idea Month website badge|
Are YOU participating in NaNoWriMo, as a bookstore or as a writer — or both? Let us know, and we’ll cheer you on!
[Elizabeth Bluemle / Publisher's Weekly - ShelfTalker]