Write a novel in a month at the JJC library

Fifty thousand words. That’s how many words people all over the world will try to write in the month of November for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

NaNoWriMo originally started in 1999 as a challenge for writers. Today, NaNoWriMo has grown into something much larger. It’s a way for people to connect, gain new ideas, and network. More importantly, it’s a way to explore ones creative interests.

NaNoWriMo isn’t a competition to see who can write the most in a month. It’s a process, one which can be long and difficult. Many people want their first draft to be perfect.

According to Michelle Roubal, coordinator for NaNoWriMo programs, “It’s all about getting the ideas out on paper.”

One thing various libraries participate in during NaNoWriMo is a library crawl. Participants of NaNoWriMo are encouraged to attend write-ins at participating libraries.

For each library visited, participants receive a crawl card. The more crawl cards collected, the higher chance a person has at winning a prize at the NaNoWriMo Thank Goodness It’s Over party.

Libraries play a big part in NaNoWriMo. Here at JJC, the library hosts various programs for NaNoWriMo. Some programs include write-ins, presenters, and movie showings with discussions afterwards.

Write-ins are from 7-10 p.m. on Wednesdays through November, except on Nov. 20. The write-in will start an hour earlier to accommodate time for writing prompt games. Write-ins are a way for writers to work in a quiet environment.

For writers who want to work quietly by themselves, the classrooms in the library will be available to use. For writers who are looking to collaborate, and network with fellow writers, there will be seating in the library’s events area.

A new program that the library is hosting is a showing and discussion of the movie “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The movie tells the story of biographer Lee Israel. When she fails to be published because of changing tastes, Israel turns to deception to make a living, and is assisted by her friend.

This movie is picked for viewing is because “it speaks to the hardship of writing,” according to Roubal, and it is a fairly new, award-winning movie. The movie won Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild of America.  It was also chosen as a way to help promote a new database the library offers: Feature Films for Education.

When asked about program turnout during NaNoWriMo, “Some programs have a small turnout. The programs are relatively small,” Roubal said. At the library’s Oct. 2 program, there were a total of nine attendees.

On Nov. 25, the library will host a program on self-publishing, and resources for self-publishing. There has been a lot of interest in self-publishing. One self-publishing resource that is available to anyone in Illinois free of cost, is Inkie.org.

Inkie is provided through Reaching Across Illinois Library Systems (RAILS). With Inkie, writers can create books through Pressbooks, read books, and share them with other people through Indie Author Project Select, Indie Illinois, and more.

“The goal is to bring in people interested in writing, and showing them support for their creative interests,” said Roubal.
JJC’s library has many resources for writers to utilize. Some of the resources aren’t meant to help with creative writing, but the library does purchase a few new books on writing each year.

One neat resource for writers and students alike is research guides. Research guides are available on various topics, including NaNoWriMo. These guides can be useful for various classes, including English, Psychology, and Physics.

“Research guides are designed for people who need to write something,” Roubal said.

While NaNoWriMo may only last a month, the lessons and experiences will stay with writers for a long time.