Writing a novel can be a daunting task, sometimes taking months, even years, to complete.
For writers looking to move their work into a higher gear, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo to those willing to take on the challenge.
One local writer is hoping to help others in the area take on the challenge by holding a number of support meetings and writing sessions.
The group — which is open to writers of all skill levels and backgrounds — held its first write-in Saturday at Starbucks, where participants wrote for four hours as part of the effort to finish the first draft of a single book in a month’s time.
“The gatherings are informal,” said Kelly Merritt, a local writer who has a number of publishing credits in national and international magazines and other publications. “Anywhere from two or more writers might show up for any or all of the sessions, sit quietly and write together with scheduled breaks and writing prompts for whomever chooses to use them. All writers are welcome, whether they are working on a novel, short story, poetry, memoir or other writing projects. The goal is to get words on the page, not critique each other.”
This year, NaNoWriMo expects more than 400,000 people—including more than 70,000 K-12 students and educators in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program —to start a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. Last year, NaNoWriMo welcomed 384,126 participants, in 646 different regions, on six continents. Of these, more than 34,000 met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Local writers assemble organized and impromptu writing teams, most often gathering at area coffee shops, libraries and restaurants.
Some of the write-ins are planned around other events, such as Dirty Joe’s coffee bar in Elkin. On Nov. 15 the coffee shop will debut the new winter drinks, so the writers will meet there that day.
On Nov. 12, the writers will write at Creek Bottom Brewey in advance of MAUI, the Mount Airy Ukulele Invasion, and some will stay to listen to the music. Organizers hope to add more days and sessions at other locations in Pilot Mountain and as far away as Sparta based on community response.
So far the group plans to meet at the new Starbucks, Pages Books and Coffee, Dirty Joe’s in Elkin and Creek Bottom Brewery. Interested local writers can join the group on Facebook under Foothills Writing Club to stay updated on locations, times and dates.
For more information join the Foothills Writing Club’s Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/789435977867151/ or visit nanowrimo.org.
Here is a tentative list of planned meetings. Check the Facebook page for updates and changes.
• Tuesday, Nov. 7, Pages Books and Coffee, Mount Airy, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
• Thursday, Nov. 9, Dirty Joe’s Coffee, Elkin, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Sunday, Nov. 12, Creek Bottom Brewery, Mount Airy, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
• Tuesday, Nov. 14, Starbucks, Mount Airy, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
• Wednesday, Nov. 15 Dirty Joe’s Coffee, Elkin, 11am-2 p.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 18, Pages Books and Coffee, Mount Airy, 11am-3 p.m.
• Tuesday, Nov. 21, Starbucks, Mount Airy, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
• No Mid Week Meeting Due to Thanksgiving
• Saturday, Nov. 25, Pages Books and Coffee, Mount Airy, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
• Tuesday, Nov. 28, Starbucks, Mount Airy, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
• Friday, Dec. 1, TBD, NaNoWriMo recap, plan for weekly writing groups
Locations (subject to change):
• Starbucks: 1996 Rockford St #100, Mount Airy
• Pages Books & Coffee: 192 N Main St, Ste 200 Mount Airy
• Dirty Joe’s: 132 E Market St. Elkin
• Creek Bottom Brewery: 1018 Rockford St, Mount Airy