November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. Join Milner Library in various ways to take a break from reality with creative writing throughout the month of November.

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 and since then, hundreds of novels written as NaNoWriMo projects have been traditionally published such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, and Wool by Hugh Howey. In 2019 alone, 455,080 writers participated across the globe.

Typically, NaNoWriMo encourages participants to write 50,000 words, or the first chapter of a novel, throughout the month of November. Recognizing how busy the month of November is, Milner is challenging the ISU community to write 1,000 words of creative writing during the month of November. Submissions for the contest will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 6.

“Libraries would not exist without writers to tell the stories that fill our shelves,” explains Milner LibraryNaNoWriMo Shield Dean Dallas Long. “Although we tend to think of academic libraries as collecting scholarly research that informs the ISU community’s scholarship, creative works are an important form of our teaching, learning, and cultural enrichment. One of my goals as the dean of Milner Library is to promote the library’s role in supporting creative activity and its role in student innovation. We are sponsoring NaNoWriMo for this first time this year in the hopes of inspiring students to engage in creative writing and to showcase students’ writing.”

Enter Milner’s creative writing contest

While 50,000 words might be a little ambitious for most, Milner Library is challenging current undergraduate and graduate students to flex their creative writing muscles to write at least 1,000 words in November. Participants can submit their writing to be entered to win prizes, and if given permission, Milner will share creative works submitted. For more information and full contest rules, go to the contest submission form. Submissions for the contest will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 6.

Looking for inspiration?

In addition to connecting with NaNoWriMo’s robust online community, be sure to follow Milner Library on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all month long for creative writing tips, resource, writing prompts, and even an Author Talk with Milner’s very own Sue Rovens who is stacks manager by day and indie suspense author by night.

Questions about NaNoWriMo resources and/or contest can be sent to Milner Library’s Director of Communication and Outreach Erin Link at