Challenge: Write 50,000 Words in 30 Days

Courtesy photo


National Novel Writing Month Kicks Off Nov. 1
‘Everyone has it in Them to Write a Novel’

November has Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, blustery weather, and the change back to Standard Time – the perfect time to give thanks, contemplate life, curl up somewhere cozy, eat too much … and write a novel.

November is also National Novel Writing Month and Los Alamos County Libraries are ready to support those with the steely resolve to write the required 50,000 words in 30 days.

On Nov. 1,  Mesa Public Library will have an event to kick off this heady endeavor and continue to support participants with ‘write-ins’ or meetings of all novelists-to-be, both ardent and disheartened scribblers.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is all about quantity and less about quality; the following is from the NaNoWriMo website:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing Nov. 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59 p.m., Nov. 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of ****. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and — when the thing is done — the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2010, we had more than 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story – I’ve written three.”

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 a.m. Nov. 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by Nov. 30 at 11:59:59 p.m. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

*Note: see local library events below; you may sign up on the official site,, but that is not required to participate at the Los Alamos event.

Though the national event is all about novel writing, writers in any genre are encouraged to participate and set their own goals. And here is the library events schedule to help you start your new career:

  • Mesa Public Library is hosting a kickoff event Thursday, Nov. 1 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the upstairs rotunda, including signups and goodie bags with NaNoWriMo swag to get you started.
  • Afterwards at 6:30 p.m., get even more inspired with the Mesa Public Library FREE Film Series special showing of last year’s Academy Award Winner for best writing/original screenplay and with a plot about a writer meeting all his favorite authors of yore in a delightful film set in Paris, rated PG 13. Check out flyers in the libraries for details (we can’t use the title due to licensing issues.)
  • Staff will also host weekly writing meetups – ‘write ins’ – every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m., where writers can talk and do writing exercises in the Upstairs Rotunda
  • Though it will not be hosted by library staff, there will be a writing salon every evening from 5 p.m. to closing. Writers will have comfortable places to sit and write, relevant resources available, and can plan to meet and share with other writers.  
  • Friday, Nov. 30 from 5:30-6:30 pm.., it is time for “Thank Goodness it’s (almost) Over!” Celebrate with fellow participants. Everyone who completed their NaNoWriMo goal is invited. Refreshments will be served, celebration will commence, and staff will provide tips on what to do next with your novel.

All NaNoWriMo events will be in the upstairs rotunda at Mesa Public Library.

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