November is National Novel Writing Month. Every year a bunch of ambitious, over-caffeinated people sign up for this event, affectionately nicknamed NaNoWriMo, at www.nanowrimo.org . The challenge: Write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Before you stop reading, let me tell you -- I've done it! Between full-time graduate school and a part-time job, it's really not as scary as it sounds. Fifty thousand words in a month works out to 1,667 words a day -- that's only about three pages, single-spaced, with 12-point font. And those younger than 18 have the option of participating in the Young Writers' Program (http://ywp.nanowrimo.org ), where you set your own word count goal.
Also, you don't need to worry about quality. The only thing that matters is output. This means you are giving yourself permission to take risks, make lots of mistakes and just have a great time.This is your chance to put away your mental editor for just one month, and write your novel. Even if you don't reach your goal, you're awesome for even trying.
Get motivated by reading these published novels that began as a twinkle in a NaNo author's eye:
"The Persistence of Memory" by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: Sixteen-year-old Erin has been in and out of psychiatric wards her whole life. Finally, it seems that Shevaun, her alter ego, is gone. When dreams of violence haunt Erin yet again, she begins to suspect that Shevaun is not, as she had thought, a creation of her overactive brain. In fact, Shevaun is a 500-year-old witch who is as eager to get Erin out of her head as Erin is to get Shevaun out of hers. Now they must figure out why the link exists and how to sever it for good.
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen: Set during the Great Depression, this 2006 New York Times best-seller follows young Jacob Jankowski as he walks out of his veterinary exam and falls in with a traveling circus. When the circus folk discover his skill with animals, he is put in charge of their menagerie. During his journey, Jacob forges strong bonds with both animals and people.
"The Mote in Andrea's Eye" by David Niall Wilson: As a child, Andrea Jamieson watched her father die in a terrible hurricane. Twenty-one years later, Andrea is part of a storm-tracking team keeping its eye on a storm near the Bermuda Triangle. When her pilot partner, Phil, disappears into the Triangle -- along with the storm -- Andrea is determined to find out what happened.
To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, contact Laura at 470-6524 or email@example.com  or go to www.nanowrimo.org . And go to www.beaufortcountylibrary.org  for a full listing of our creative programs.
Laura Hayden is a reference librarian at the Beaufort Branch of the Beaufort County Public Library, located at 311 Scott Street, Beaufort.