Write like the wind: Local group celebrates National Novel Writing Month


Sometimes, a writer needs an extra push to get his or her novel written.

The month of November is a good time to get started on it if the writer is up for the challenge.

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, is an Internet-based writing project that takes place annually during the month of November.

NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write at least 50,000 words from midnight Nov. 1 until the deadline at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30.

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The goal is to encourage writers to finish the first draft of their novel so they can go back and edit it later. The key is to aim for completion, rather than perfection.

“Writing is a lonely pursuit. NaNo makes you feel like part of a group, part of something big,” said Kathi Linz of Seymour. “It looks like about half a million people are participating this year. Usually, only about 10 percent finish the 50,000 words.”

Linz is an author and has been employed at the Jackson County Public Library since August 2005. She currently is an information services assistant at the main library in Seymour.

Two of her published books, “Time Walker: Cara’s Story” and “Marc’s Rebellion,” were written during NaNoWriMo from past years. Linz was first published in college but didn’t pursue it until she was in her 30s.

“I’ve been writing since third grade, on and off, and storytelling,” Linz said. “I was the oldest of four and occasionally had to keep them entertained.”

Each month at the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour, Linz leads the Spilling Ink Writers’ Group. The members typically meet from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the second or third Saturday of each month.

The group meetings are open to the public, and this month, they had a write-in event for National Novel Writing Month.

Author Carolyn Griffin of Brownstown has participated in the NaNoWriMo project in the past but without technically signing up.

“I went to the NaNoWriMo website where people were writing and sharing their word counts,” she said. “I chose three people to challenge myself with, and my goal was to write more than they did.”

Griffin said she learned to read and write before she was 3. She also used to rewrite the Sunday night “Wonderful World of Disney” television shows and Disney songs as a child.

“The serious writing began in high school when I began writing for the school magazine and an underground paper,” she said. “I only wrote for friends.”

Two of Griffin’s published books, “The Great Release” and “Little Bits Of-,” are now out of print, but “Sidesplittin’, Butt Kickin’, Tear Droppin’ Times” is still available in paperback.

“My advice for writers is like the Nike commercials, ‘Just do it.’ If you get the pull to write, then write,” she said. “Don’t ever let the idea of money or the thought that it has to be perfect off the bat block you.”

One more local success story resulting from NaNoWriMo is Shana Brock of Seymour. Brock first participated in 2012 when she was 15.

“I was and am a NaNoWriMo participant, and my experience has been amazing,” she said. “It is full of people and authors willing to support each other. The pep talks from big authors like John Green and Veronica Roth are amazing.”

Brock was a member of the Seymour High School newspaper staff before graduating in 2015. Her first novel, “Source High,” was written and published due to the 2012 NaNoWriMo event.

The 19-year-old author currently is working on the second book in her series. As of Nov. 9, she had written a little more than 15,000 words.

Last year, there were 351,489 participants in NaNoWriMo, including 1,012 partner libraries and community centers worldwide. The official website also has tips for writer’s block and makes announcements as to where local writers are meeting to participate in the event together.

Anyone interested in learning more about the books written by Linz, Griffin or Brock may do so on the Amazon website. Also, aspiring writers who are considering writing a novel might consider taking the NaNoWriMo challenge next November.

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For information about National Novel Writing Month, visit nanowrimo.org.

For information about the Spilling Ink Writers’ Group, visit mjclibrary.org or call the Jackson County Public Library at 812-522-3412.

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Writing tips from author Kathi Linz:

1. Read the kind of stories you want to write. Get the rhythm and flow of the genre.

2. Write for your own entertainment. If you enjoy it, other people will, too.

3. Don’t try to write a bestseller first off. Learn to crawl before you try to run a marathon.

4. Finish what you start. Thousands, possibly millions, of writers have ideas in their heads or unfinished works in a drawer. At least give your story a chance to live.

5. Clean it up. Don’t put your work out in the world with spelling, punctuation and grammar errors. Get help if you need it, but make it the best it can be.

6. High priority option: Connect with other writers. They will help you in the rough spots, give you advice for fixing and improving and keep you motivated.


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