November is National Novel Writing Month

Autumn Hall-Tun, Librarian

Welcome to November! At this point in the semester, most of you are probably gearing up for papers that will soon be due, trying to keep up with homework and maybe looking forward to Thanksgiving break. However, some among us may be pushing ourselves to complete a seemingly impossible task this month: writing a novel.

November is National Novel Writing Month, abbreviated as NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo asks participants to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Those who complete this task are deemed “winners” by word count alone. Over the years, more than 250 novels created as part of this project have been published, showing that a little inspiration can turn into a big success when you stick with it and work hard. Some of the novels that started as part of NaNoWriMo include Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

It’s hard to imagine that a novel can come out of only one month of writing, but one thing to remember is that no piece of writing starts out a finished product. Writers must allow themselves to write an imperfect first draft in order to get their ideas down on the page. When writing papers for school you might find the hardest part to be simply getting started. Try to brainstorm when starting a paper by just writing down your ideas, no matter how rough they are.

Whether you’re attempting a lofty goal like writing a novel or just getting through the semester one paper at a time, remember that the Madison College Libraries and Student Achievement Centers are here to help you! In our library collection, you’ll find reference books like The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (also known as the APA Manual) and the most recent edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, as well as books you can check out for easy reference like Charles Lipson’s Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles- MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More.

The library also has a number of research guides to help you effectively put together your papers, including guides to help with the complicated business of creating citations (available at In our Student Achievement Centers, we also have writing help available to review your paper and help you get the best grade possible. You can find our full Student Achievement Center schedules at:

No matter what you aim to do this semester, be it write an excellent research paper on a topic that interests you, or try to get a draft of a novel written, the library and Student Achievement Center staff are here to help you do it.