Dozens of Iowans are not out enjoying the fall colors this month…they’re indoors trying to write a book. This is the eighth year for “National Novel Writing Month,” and the fourth year Cedar Rapids organizer Amber Hanford has tackled the challenge. She learned about it from a friend, who convinced her it’s a great idea to try and sit down and write fifty-thousand words in a month.
NaNoWriMo is a chance for people who’ve thought about writing a novel to just…write one. The rewards aren’t in money or fame. “The only thing you’ll get out of it is bragging rights,” she says, and a sense of satisfaction at having done it. Still, she says better than any prize is the discovery you’ve done something you didn’t think possible. Some seek inspiration in solitude, others would like a little moral support.
There are events all over Iowa, groups and people setting up get-togethers. In Cedar Rapids, she’s helped plan gatherings throughout November and will organize a final one when it’s all over. Sometimes Iowa’s would-be novelists find inspiration at a “write-in.” A lot of the write-ins feature people just sitting around all typing furiously on their laptop computers. But sometimes you’ll be stumped and need an idea, and you can turn to the guy sitting next to you and ask for help. “They’ll come up with some crazy idea like ninja llamas,” she suggests, and you’ll either write that into your novel or “you’ll have another creative burst and come up with some idea there.”
Omaha schoolteacher Dante Salvatierra is taking part again this year and says he’d like his novel to be published, but his reward is closer to home. “My success comes in the form of reading my story to my students when I’m done with it, because I write my book, in a way, for them.” He’ll write student names into the novel as a cameo, the name of a restaurant or other item amid the plot, and it becomes a keepsake for them.
The only reward is knowing you wrote a book in a month, but from a group of fewer than two-dozen writers, it had grown by last year to 59-thousand people who registered at the website to declare they were giving it a try, and more than 97-hundred accomplished the challenge. The clock’s ticking — the month to write it all down began Wednesday.
Related web sites:
National Novel Writing Month