Today is November 1st! Every year I look forward to this day with a combined sense of excitement and dread. As I recover from my Halloween festivities, I look forward to the annual marathon of writing known as National Novel Writing Month. Every year, aspiring novelists of all ages and all walks of life sit down and start the grand adventure of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. That equals out to writing just about 1,667 words a day.

"Are they crazy?" you might ask. Possibly, but there’s one thing every writer participating has in common: they are dreamers who wish to make writing a novel a reality. Setting a deadline, using small, achievable goals and engaging with a supportive community are all tools used by the writers to make it to the finish line. And you can do the same! Whether you are interested in writing a novel, or maybe you have another dream, you can still participate in the spirit of this November adventure by following these basic steps:

  1. Find some friends who would also like to achieve this goal. What makes November magic for writers is the sheer number of them participating at the same time. Even when your goal is solitary, knowing you are part of a community of people attempting the same goal can give you a boost of confidence.
  2. Set a deadline. Whether you give yourself a week to achieve your goal or a year, a deadline helps you stick to your goals and keep yourself accountable.
  3. Set smaller goals to reach before the deadline. Any goal is made more achievable by breaking it down into chunks. Even climbers tackle Mt. Everest in phases and steps, using landmarks to guide them. So set up tiny goals to track your progress as you tackle your goal too.
  4. Give yourself credit for trying. Every year, thousands of writers make it to the end of November without finishing their goal. But none of them have failed. Each has written far more than when they started and far more than they would have if they hadn't started at all. Every attempt at a goal teaches you something new and moves you closer to achieving it!
  5. Don’t forget about the Library! It’s true. At Kitsap Regional Library, we’re here to inspire you to dream more, learn more, do more and be more. And how do we do that? By providing you with resources you need to complete your goal. Whether that’s a quiet space to work, an answer to a pressing question or the perfect how-to book for your quest. All you have to do is let us know what you’re working on and we’ll let you know how we can help.

As Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, says “whatever you think you are, you are more than that.” Get out there and reach those goals! 

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