Writing can be tough, and it’s tougher now than at any other time of year. That’s right: it is National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo is a yearly challenge for writers to commit to writing 50,000 words, the standard benchmark for a complete novel, and yes, that is just as hard as it sounds. But you’re not alone out there. Harris County Public Library has a ton of resources to help you emerge victorious from NaNoWriMo 2020.
Write-ins are a NaNoWriMo staple, and HCPL hosts them weekly throughout NaNoWriMo over on our Facebook page. You can hang out with some library staffers and, most importantly, other writers, to set aside some time to write. Not only do our write-ins hold you to writing (which can often be the hardest part about NaNoWriMo), but they also provide challenges and word sprints if you find that your ideas are starting to dry up.
Writers have a reputation for being solitary introverts, but one of the great parts about NaNoWriMo is that it brings writers together for support, inspiration, and commiseration. But you don’t have to enjoy this community just during NaNoWriMo! HCPL hosts a variety of writing groups all year long, like the Scribe Tribe, the writing group I run at our Tomball branch. Whether you’re looking for critique after NaNoWriMo is over to help you fine-tune your masterpiece, or you’re just looking for some moral support, writing groups can be a great way to make NaNoWriMo feel a lot less lonely.
Sometimes you need more than just time and company. Sometimes you need to learn how to manage your time to write 50,000 words in 30 days, or to brush up on the basics of storytelling. Luckily, my colleague Rachael is running a series of NaNoWriMo workshops on just those topics. Although these workshops are made specifically for teens, the information here is perfect for any writer.
Whether you’re writing the next hard sci-fi masterpiece, a historical fiction novel, or are writing about a physicist even though you know nothing about physics (guilty as charged), research can be the backbone of a great novel. And research is one of the things that libraries do best. Not only do we have a ton of great databases that you can use to kickstart your research, but you can also schedule a virtual reference session with a librarian to help you find the information you need to finish your bestseller.
You’ve got the time, the community, the fundamentals, and the research you need to get started on writing your novel, but sometimes you need a little bit of inspiration to get you across the finish line. Luckily, we’ve got plenty of great books in our collection that were written during NaNoWriMo’s past, like Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. Will your book be the next NaNoWriMo success story we add to our shelves?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Let us know in the comments below, and let us know how the library is helping you write your 50,000 words!
This blog was written by Elizabeth B. and originally appeared November 2020.