Internet program motivates writers

Internet program motivates writers

The Tribune

Cranking out a novel

Source: Lori McDonald | The Tribune [email protected]

Writing a novel can be daunting for anyone, and 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 Internetbased writing project that takes place annually during November.

In 2020, more than 500,000 people participated in the NaNoWriMo programs, facilitated by libraries, bookstores and educational institutions.

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

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.

Jenna Martinez, owner of The Magic of Books Bookstore in Seymour, said this is her first year to participate in NaNoWriMo.

“I’ve seen several of my author friends do it, and it sounds like a lot of fun,” she said. “I basically signed up to make it motivate and push me to work on my book.”

Martinez said in NaNoWrimo, the writer is supposed to write a certain number of words per day, which she believes will help her stay on track.

“Since I have a deadline, it’s exciting and it’s doing its job and making me work on my book more than I have in awhile,” she said.

Seymour author Ashley Greathouse said she has been writing and publishing for three years, and her books can be found on This is her first time participating in the program.

“I’ve been approached in the past by fellow author friends about participating in NaNoWriMo, but I have always declined because I was afraid of the pressure and competitive nature,” she said.

This year, she decided to give it a go and is so glad she did.

“The competitiveness, it’s honestly few and far between,” she said. “Most authors who participate are only competing against the pace/progress they accomplished in previous years.”

Greathouse said the community support is like no other, which is so much of a motivator.

“I’ve shared my journey so far across all social media platforms, the highs and the lows, and I have experienced nothing but encouraging words from other participants,” she said. “Having so many people rooting for your success, it’s astonishing.”

Greathouse has a few projects in the works but wanted to do NaNoWriMo right, not that there is truly a wrong way to follow a personal journey, but she wanted to start fresh with something brand new with no words to paper, she said.

“I’m currently at Day 7 with over 13,000 out of a goal of 50,000,” she said. “It feels awesome, and I’m not sure I would have pushed myself to start this project as headstrong as I have had I not participated in this organization’s writing resource.”

Greathouse said is constantly putting out helpful guides and live question-andanswer sessions as well as many other tools that both aspiring and established authors can use to progress their writing journey.

“I will without a doubt be a returning participant,” she said.

Seymour resident Kathi 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 and two of her published books, “Time Walker: Cara’s Story” and “Marc’s Rebellion,” were written during NaNoWriMo from past years. These and her other books are on

“If you write 1,667 words per day for a month, you will end up with a 50,000-word book,” Linz said. “Do not think it is easy. You have to persist to win the 50,000-word completion certificate and end up with your very own book.”

National Novel Writing Month was started by Chris Baty in 1999.

“He wanted to see if he could write a book in a month, and deadlines help you finish things,” Linz said. “He invited a few friends to try the challenge with him. It didn’t take very long for word of mouth to spread the idea, and a website was born to help people connect to the worldwide challenge.”

She said she can define his method of writing in two rules.

“No editing your work during the month of November, that’s what December is for and just keep going,” Linz said. “Sometimes, you’ll need a lot of editing to shape up your story, and sometimes, you will pull a masterpiece out of the hat, but think of it this way: You can’t edit a blank page. At least you have given yourself something to work with.”

For those who would like to write a novel, Linz recommends writing the kind of book that you like to read.

“Mysteries have a different feel and flow than romances, etc. If you read a lot of those kinds of books, you will have a basic understanding of the pacing and structure of the story, and it will be easier for you to put one together in a similar way,” she said. “That’s important because a person who reads mysteries or other genres will expect a certain structure to the story. You can’t solve a mystery on Page 10 or have a happily-ever-after romance with no conflict and expect your reader to stay with you.”

She said some people like to outline their stories and have the characters act within that framework, but other people invent a character and let them run according to their nature, which is called pantsing or writing by the seat of their pants.

“I personally am a pantser. Sometimes, the story surprises even me,” Linz said. “It’s a lot of fun when you can be surprised by your own story.”

Linz leads the Spilling Ink Writers’ Group at the Seymour Library. The next meeting is 2 to 3 p.m. Nov. 20, and the topic will be the seven deadly sins of story writing.

“We are putting a video and handout links on the library’s Facebook page each month,” she said. “We are also holding in person meetings upstairs by the curved windows as long as the county is not in red status.”

Anybody who is interested in writing is welcome to attend. Participants don’t need to be published or even actively writing something.

“We talk about various aspects of writing and sometimes do a writing exercise with prompts,” Linz said. “No one is required to read their writing aloud, but we often share our writing exercises. On occasion, we have brainstormed ideas to help a writer with plot points. It’s a fun, open forum for being with other writers.”

It’s not too late to sign up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For information, visit