Join the mayor in writing a book during November

Usually, South St. Paul Library patrons stop by to read a book. This November, they will be able to stop by and write a book.

The library, located at 106 Third Ave. N., will host two writing sessions in honor of National Novel Writing Month. The program encourages both amateur and professional writers to write 50,000 words -- the length of a novella -- between Nov. 1 and 30. All budding authors are encouraged to join South St. Paul Mayor Beth Baumann on Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. for marathon writing sessions.

Baumann said she is attempting the National Novel Writing Month challenge for the first time.

"The challenge of a mandated word count with a time limit was intriguing, and it hooked me," she said. "I'm going for it!"

However, Baumann confessed, "I am nervous and excited to take the challenge. People have to keep the pressure on me during November; ask me about my word count when you see me!"

According to the website, the National Novel Writing Month was founded by author Chris Baty "and 20 other overcaffeinated yahoos" in 1999 and is currently run by the California-based, non-profit "Office of Letters and Light." The 50,000 words an author writes during National Novel Writing Month don't even have to be all that great. "The 50,000-word challenge has a wonderful way of opening up your imagination and unleashing creativity," Baty said. "When you write for quantity instead of quality, you end up getting both.

"Also, it's a great excuse for not doing any dishes for a month."

Last year over 200,000 people attempted the National Novel Writing Month challenge, and about 40,000 finished it. The organization's website offers a way of verifying the 50,000 words to keep authors accountable.

Some of the National Novel Writing Month novels have even gotten published, including "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, and "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern, which both made the New York Times Best Seller list.

-- Heather Edwards

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