By DEVIN HEILMAN
COEUR d’ALENE — To write a 50,000-word novel, you only have to write 1,667 words a day.
How do you stay committed? By participating in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.
"A lot of the time you sit down and you think, 'I wish I could write a novel,' or you could just sit down and do it," said Mel Davis of Coeur d'Alene, co-municipal liaison for the NaNoWriMo Coeur d'Alene region. "The event is an excuse to get you going and to tell you to sit down and just write it."
The clocks for NaNoWriMo begin ticking the first minute of Nov. 1 and stop at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30. In the space between, participants will challenge themselves to write as much as they can with the goal of reaching 50,000 words.
In its 19th year, NaNoWriMo is the largest writing event in the world and has propelled the completion of such best-sellers as Sara Gruen's "Water for Elephants" and
Erin Morganstern's "The Night Circus."
"They say you should turn off your inner editor and just get the story out there," said Krista Noyes of Post Falls, also a municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo Coeur d'Alene. "To keep writing is important. If you're stuck and you don't know what to write, it helps to say, 'I have to write X amount of words in these 15 minutes' and your creative process comes back. It helps to just get the words out, and it's really fun."
Noyes said NaNoWriMo started when some friends challenged each other to write a novel "and after that it blew up." This year, the nonprofit writing organization expects more than 400,000 people to join the challenge, including more than 70,000 students and educators on NaNoWriMo's Young Writers website.
The Coeur d'Alene region has more than 700 NaNoWriMo participants. Of those 700, 115 of them penned more than 2.2 million words last year, with 25 hitting the 50,000-word goal.
"Sitting down to write a book seems really intimidating, but we have this region where you can meet up with other people who are doing the exact same thing," Davis said. "Writing is a solitary activity, so being able to make it a little more social makes it a little easier to get into."
Noyes and Davis have organized several "write-in" events where authors can connect and collaborate. A party to begin the 2017 NaNoWriMo will be held at MacKenzie River Pizza, 405 W. Canfield Ave. in Coeur d'Alene, at noon Oct. 29. People are invited to come and ask questions and learn about the program. This year's theme is "Superpowered Noveling."
"NaNoWriMo ignites people’s superheroic creative powers every year by empowering them to write their stories," Grant Faulkner, NaNoWriMo executive director, stated in a press release. "It takes courage, grit, resilience — and wild imaginative leaps — to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month. Our stories save us from villainous forces that we encounter every day. Our stories determine the future of our world."
Writing sessions will be held in the Coeur d'Alene Public Library every Sunday in November from noon to 5 p.m. and in the Post Falls Library Nov. 11 and 25 at noon.
NaNoWriMo is free and open to all ages. Participants may prepare to work on their novels prior to Nov. 1, but cannot write one word until the month begins. Noyes said writers need not submit their original content as long as they submit their exact word count.
Writers can sign up, keep track of their progress, earn personal achievement badges, interact with other authors and submit word counts at www.nanowrimo.org.