While it is true that finishing the first draft of a novel is just one small step on the staircase towards publication, it also a tremendous accomplishment. It takes dedication, and even more so when the goal is to finish a 50,000-word novel draft in just one month, as many do by participating in National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo happens every November and has participants from all over the world. However, NaNoWriMo is more than just a cool writing event; it’s also a nonprofit organization. Their mission statement says, “National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”

On the NaNoWriMo website, writers can create a free account and use it to announce their NaNoWriMo novel, update their word count, and earn personal achievement badges. Furthermore, the website provides things like writing inspiration and encouragement from staff and published authors, a place to connect with the writing community through online forums, and a way to find in-person writing events in your own local community. They also have an active Twitter account, on which they post things to inspire, coach, and help writers along in their novel-writing journey.

Even here in the Fox Cities and greater Green Bay area, we have plenty of NaNoWriMo resources and active participant groups. In Green Bay, the Brown County Library hosts regular write-ins at their central location every Saturday for the month of November. The Oneida Community Library hosts write-ins during the week. These write-ins offer space to write and a chance to meet other local novelists. You can also connect with the Green Bay NaNoWriMo group on both Facebook and Twitter.

In the Fox Cities, the public libraries in Appleton, Menasha, Little Chute, and Kimberly all host write-ins on different days of the week, as well as at Half Price Books in Appleton. Local residents can also head to the Chilton Public Library every Tuesday for a NaNoWriMo Writing Class, during which “each class will focus on unique aspects to help you reach the NaNo goal of 50,000 words in the month of November.” The Fox Cities, like Green Bay, has an active Facebook group that participants can use to connect with each other.

Between both the Fox Cities and Green Bay, on the website alone, there are a total of 258 novelists who have written well over a million words combined, and that number is only going to go up. Clearly, there is a thriving community of writers here, and thanks to NaNoWriMo, writers can not only work toward accomplishing a dream, but also connect with others in their own neighborhood who understand the struggles and joys of writing and provide support for each other.

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