Beginning on November 1st is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, an international challenge encouraging participants to let out their inner author.
The idea behind the world’s largest writing challenge is to get participants to commit to writing a 50,000-word novel from scratch, completing the project by November 30. The challenge involves no judges, no prizes and submissions are deleted before anyone can read them.
Part of the month-long program is locations known as "write-ins", which offer a supportive environment which help turn solitary writing into a community experience.
Fort St. John has embraced this write-in idea, as all the local coffee shops are welcoming this supportive role. Coffee shops will display "Caution, Novelist at Work" signs to the public, notifying participants that the shop is a write-in location.
The Fort St. John Public Library is also promoting the month long challenge and is hosting a meet and greet on Tuesday, Nov.1 at 7 p.m., for interested writers to meet, share their ideas and provide support to one another. Depending on the event’s attendance, the library may also hold another support group in the middle and end of the month. The library is also considering itself a write-in location.
Despite a lack of prizes or recognition for one's work, NaNoWriMo Program Director Lindsey Grant says "writing a novel in a month inspires incredible confidence in seasoned and first-time novelists alike. Completing a draft of the novel they’ve been contemplating for ages gives participants a tremendous sense of accomplishment and leaves them wondering what else they’re capable of."
NaNoWriMo has also created a Young Writers Program, a version of the event aimed at children and teenagers.
Even though the program emphasizes creativity over producing a literary masterpiece, more than 90 novels have been published as a result of projects created through NaNoWriMo. Works such as Sara Gruen’s "Water for Elephants" and "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern were created through this program, published and went on to be #1 New York Times Best Sellers.
Interested writers must register at the NaNoWriMo website and create an online profile. Registering gives participants access to an online support community, chat rooms and forums within the region. In order to gain access to Peace Region support groups, select Canada, B.C., then "Elsewhere".