The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 19, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Pushing the Pen

By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — For the 15th consecutive year, writers from across the globe have been challenging themselves to produce 50,000 words within 30 days as part of National Novel Writing Month.

For the first year, the Clinton Public Library is offering its resources to aid area writers with this goal.

Adult Programming Librarian Holly Youngquist heard of the challenge previously, as some of her friends participated. This year, she decided to sign up on the website,, and give it a try, as well support other area novelists. With that in mind, the library’s Root Cellar has been offering weekly “write-ins” on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“They can just come into the library for some quiet time if they want to write,” Youngquist.

Whether participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge or just wanting to work on existing novels or short stories, Youngquist is inviting members of the community to bring their laptop or a pen and paper and join her in the root cellar. So far, she has only seen one writer besides herself at the write-ins, a far cry from the 500,000 people worldwide expected to participate.

The library has also hosted various writers and programs each Monday, highlighting a different style of writing. On Oct. 28, authors Maggie Rivers and C. Deanne Rowe spoke about writing romance novels. Local authors Misty Evans and Amy Manemann spoke on Nov. 11 about crafting mystery novels.

While few people have attended the write-ins, Youngquist has seen better turnouts for the Monday programming. She attributes some of this to the great group of writers it has had.

“The turnouts have been small, but enthusiastic,’ Youngquist said.

The month will end with a celebratory gathering at 1 p.m. Nov. 30 on the second floor of the library.

Youngquist has found the programs to be informative for her own novel, a “romantic suspense, with a little paranormal thrown in.” Having fallen behind, she is not sure if she will actually meet the 50,000 goal.

“That’s the challenging part, getting it done,” Youngquist said.

However, she said the most important part of the month is not the goal, but “to encourage people to go ahead and write that book that you always wanted to do,” Youngquist said.

She encouraged any budding writers to visit the NaNoWriMo website to get support with their works. It offers a variety of information and message boards.

“If you get caught or stuck, there’s something there to prompt you,” Youngquist said.


Upcoming programs at the library Nov. 20: Write-In from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Root Cellar Nov. 22: Where Were You? A discussion and day of remembrance commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Asassination of President John Kennedy, held at 12:30 p.m. in the children's nonfiction department. Nov. 27: Write-In from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Root Cellar Nov. 30: A "We Did It" party to celebrate the end of NaNoWriMo, at 1 p.m. on the second floor.