National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, began in 1999 as a yearly effort to help writers with the most crucial, and yet difficult, part of novel writing: producing the first draft. NaNoWriMo is founded around the belief that, by motivating writers through community and concrete goals, would-be writers can overcome their creative obstacles and start writing for real.

Every November, NaNoWriMo challenges writers to finish 50,000 words of their draft (or another personally-set goal) by the end of the month. Writers can track their progress and receive community support on the official website, as well as access a number of resources, including a pre-November prep program, pep talks from famous authors, and a Young Writers Program. NaNoWriMo even runs Camp NaNoWrimo, a chance to try a version of NaNoWriMo customized to the writer's personal goals, in April and July.

The library supports new and established authors in Alachua County. If you are planning to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, or simply to write more this year, we have many resources currently available to you. Here are just a few of the services that writers can take advantage of this November.

hand writing in a journal

Space to Write

All 12 branches offer public seating, free WiFi, and public computer access. Nine branches offer a total of 23 small, private study rooms with a capacity between 3 to 8 people, depending on the room. Study rooms are available day-of, on a first-come, first-serve basis; you can call or visit your local branch to book a room. If you're looking to host a larger group for a write-in or writing sprint, most branches also have meeting rooms that can be reserved up to 90 days in advance.

three sets of hands writing on one paper

Writing Together

Each year during November, and year-round, the library offers programs for writers. For teen writers, check out the Teen Writing Club on Nov. 15, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be two write-in events at the Headquarters Library, the first event taking place on Nov. 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and a second event on Nov. 30 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. And whenever you want to check for the latest in greatest in programs, check out the Events page.

hands writing in front of a laptop


Wouldn't you know it, the library has books for check out! Many of them are helpful to writers! Several great keywords can help you find the book you need in the catalog, including "authorship," "creative writing," and "writing skills." When you use the online catalog, you can use the "Narrow your search" column on the left-hand side of the page to refine your search filters to fit your particular needs.

A catalog search will show you not only physical books, but also eBooks that are available through OverDrive, as well as O'Reilly, which offers eBooks that are more technical and business-minded. If you're still not finding the specific book you need, you can click the "Select Databases" option below your search bar on the catalog page, and select to add "OCLC WorldCat" to your search. This will allow you to search for books across the globe and place holds through our Interlibrary Loan service, available to all Alachua County residents.

And of course, one of the best ways to get inspired to write is to read. Many novels that were written during NaNoWriMo are available in the catalog, including Sara Gruen's Water for ElephantsErin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer's Cinder.

hands typing on laptop


The library offers a wealth of online resources (databases). Resources for writers include LinkedInLearning courses on writing. If you're writing a nonfiction piece about your family's history, you can try Ancestry (inside the library) or HeritageQuest Online. Many online resources can be used for research, such as America's News, Gale in Context, Issues and Controversies, MasterFILE Premier, and the World Book encyclopedia. We recommend perusing the full list of Databases to see if any of them work for you.

NaNoWriMo is a fun, community-driven method of helping aspiring writers get words onto the page. Even if you're not interested in formally participating in NaNoWriMo, consider taking November as an opportunity to explore writing. With the help of all the resources available at the library, you can get inspiration to leap into writing.

By CynthiaM on November 3, 2022