National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, began in 1999 as an attempt 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, they can overcome the usual stumbling blocks and unlock the ability to create.
Every November, NaNoWriMo challenges writers to finish 50,000 words of their draft by the end of the month. Writers can track their progress and receiving community support on the official website, as well as access 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.)
As your dedicated Library District, we are proud to support 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 we offer that writers can take advantage of this November.
Space to Write
At all 12 branches of the Alachua County Library District, we offer public seating and completely free WiFi and public computer access. Nine of our 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 the 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.
(As always during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alachua County Library District advises following CDC guidelines, as well as relevant County orders, when planning in-person events. If you are concerned that the services we offer might have changed since this blog was published, you can check always ACLD's current list of services here.)
Join our Adult Services team and fellow NaNoWriMo writers to discuss progress, struggles, and triumphs. Tune in on Zoom Sunday, Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.
Wouldn't you know it, the library does, in fact, offer books. And many of them are helpful to writers! We have several great keywords that can help you find the book you need in our catalog, including "authorship," "creative writing," and "writing skills." When you use our 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, our main eBook service, 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 our catalog, including Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer's Cinder.
ACLD offers a wealth of online resources (databases). In addition to the book services mentioned above, we have a smorgasbord of other resources for writers. LinkedInLearning offers courses on writing. If you're writing a nonfiction piece about your family's history, you can try Ancestry 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. If you like writing with a soundtrack, Freegal will let you download up to 5 songs or music videos that are yours to keep forever. 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, and build and hone their skills. 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 Alachua County Library District, you can get inspiration to leap into writing.