National Novel Writing Month at DC Public Library

National Novel Writing Month at DC Public Library

30 Days. 50,000 Words. One Novel.


November is National Novel Writing Month!

Have you ever dreamed of writing the next Great American Novel? Do you have a torrid romance burning inside you? Do you know why the aliens are coming to get you, and you have to share the secret of their extra-dimensional technology with the world? Then you, my friend, are a prime candidate for NaNoWriMo!

Each year, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) encourages people to take on the challenge of writing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel in only 30 days. Each year over 300,000 people participate in NaNoWriMo activities around the world. The DC Public Library is making a commitment to support our local NaNo Writers by providing helpful resources and some friendly competition to fun incentives for registered participants who meet their word count goal.

This year, we are going all virtual with online programs and social media - please join us!

If you would like updates on our NaNoWriMo programs, please register here to let us know a bit about your project and goals.

Novel Writing 101 with Universal Class

We cannot get together in person, but our online classes have lots to offer. Sign up for Novel Writing 101 with Universal Class for writing exercises and feedback from an actual instructor. Then join us for our three Twitter chats below to discuss your progress and what you have learned! Universal Class has multiple creative writing courses to take you to your next step as a writer.  

Come Write-In... Twitter Edition

We're all in this together! Throughout the month, join us on Twitter to discuss your NaNoWriMo progress and hear from other writers about their novels. At 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 4, Nov. 18 and Dec. 2, follow the discussion on Twitter and share your thoughts and questions using the tags #NaNoWriMo2020 and #NaNoWriMoDC. 

Write to the City - Writing Inspired by Local History and the Current Moment

Local history and culture can be a valuable resource for creative writing. This year we are promoting two local projects to add inspiration to your novel and give it some local flavor. 
  • A Right to the City: For the past two years, we have hosted pop-up exhibitions from the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum focusing on stories of neighborhood change in six different D.C. neighborhoods and how those communities have shaped and reshaped their neighborhoods over time. Use the questions, prompts, and videos at the bottom of this page as inspiration for your writing. Please also take a tour of the virtual exhibition
  • Archive this Moment: The Library has been collecting images from DC residents documenting the important current moment in which we are living. Each Friday we will share a photo and prompt on Twitter. 

Beating Writer's Block

On Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m., library Joy Jones will lead a workshop on beatin writer's block. Whether your project is a novel or something else, com pick up some tips for getting unblocked.

Adapting to 2020 for Writers

On Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m., join us for a final NaNoWriMo discussion with local crime writers E.A. Aymar, Brianna Labuskes, Hilary Davidson, and Jess Lourey as they discuss the changing world of writing and new strategies for writing success.

More Digital Resources for NaNoWriMo Writers

For those who want to write on their own, the library has many digital resources to help you write. A DC Public Library card is required to access these digital resources. 

OverDrive eBooks
Safari Tech eBooks 

Write to the City Writing Prompts:
1.What must it feel like to speak, but not be heard? Or to have your fate decided without a consult?
2. Imagine that you have every penny invested in your home and you learn about a government plan to commandeer it through eminent domain.
3. How must a family feel to live in a home that represents generational wealth only to discover, in a newspaper article, a city mandate to raze it?
4. What do warring voices within a community sound like? Can both be valid? Can both be harnessed to achieve a neighborhood victory?
5. Imagine a young student lawyer trying to explain to an 83-year-old why she must leave her community. Imagine an 33-year-old garage attendant telling his grandmother the same thing.
6. What do you say to your aged father while he is standing on a street corner watching his family synagogue be dismantled brick by brick?
7. How might the keeper of the Chinatown Dragon react to meeting Mary Surratt’s ghost while in the attic of her house, also known as Go-Lo’s Restaurant?
8. An urban planner arrives early for a community meeting in Adams Morgan, only to find the room occupied by residents painting signs in preparation for a march up Columbia Road the following day. Does s/he walk away, or does s/he stay?
9. Imagine a reluctant dialogue between monks whose quiet prayers have been interrupted by growing chants outside the walls of their monastery.
10. What is the reaction of a member of Washington’s Glitterati who, upon leaving a show at the Lincoln Theater in 1938, steps out onto Black Broadway, only to find it burning in 1968