Writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days is the daunting challenge Way Public Library is giving some of its patrons.
The library, in downtown Perrysburg, is joining in on an activity by National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a national, nonprofit organization that encourages participants to write the novels from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.
For MaryAnn Mead that meant setting an alarm at midnight Friday to wake up and get some writing in. She has finished the 50,000 words in six of the seven years she’s attempted the project — twice while nine months’ pregnant.
“It’s fun, really fun,” Ms. Mead said. “It is for people that want to write but maybe don’t know how, or are worried about what people may think. You just write because you don’t have time.”
The library held a kickoff event Friday to bring together people trying to accomplish the 50,000 word goal for the month. They played word games, talked about their ideas — and, of course, wrote. Natalie Dielman, program specialist for Way Public Library, is holding multiple events at the library throughout the month for people to support each other in their writing.
Ms. Dielman is trying it out for the first time.
“You have to worry about quantity over quality,” she said. “You have to silence your inner critic and write. It makes you not worry about writing the perfect word and just write.”
She said she is nervous about trying to write 1,667 words a day.
“It is overwhelming but kind of exciting,” Ms. Dielman said.
While Ms. Dielman was still trying to figure out what she was going to write about Friday, Ms. Mead was working on the background story of a character she has previously written about. She also spent time at the home of her best friend, who helped her name characters.
Ms. Mead wasn’t able to make it to the library’s kickoff, because she had a “novel-starting” party of her own, in which she had six or seven friends over for food, wine, dessert, and discussion about their novels. She hopes to make it to some of the library’s events, but Friday her friends and husband, Adam, issued challenges to each other instead, like trying to fit the word zamboni into their next chapter.
There will be three-hour write-in sessions at the library on Tuesday, as well as Nov. 24 and 27, where people trying to finish can come and work and talk to each other. There will be a midway party Nov. 13 to encourage people to keep going. Finally, during a wrap-up party Dec. 2, people can share what they did.
Those who accomplish more than 50,000 words can submit the story at nanowrimo.org, which has had more than 250 novels published as a result of the annual project the organization started in 1999.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment with it,” Ms. Mead said. “You are typing and in the zone. Your fingers are moving so fast you don’t even know you are typing.”