The halfway mark for National Novel Writing Month has just passed. If you’re participating, depending on where you are in the process, author Renee Watson — she’s written two picture books Harlem’s Little Blackbird and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen, a middle grade novel called What Momma Left Me, and has a YA novel called This Side of Home coming out on February 3, 2015 — has a few words of encouragement for you. Read her advice.
Better known as NaNoWriMo, the annual initiative challenges writers to pen a 50,000-word novel between yesterday and November 30, 2014 for the chance to win undisclosed goodies — and the satisfaction of getting it done. Here’s how it works: You announce your project to a community of authors doing the same thing then update them on your progress, ultimately posting the final product.
It’s free to enter, and you retain the copyright of your work as “none of the novels submitted to our site are read by another human. The text is submitted to our server, run through our word-count validator, and then immediately deleted.” Who’s in?
You still have a few hours to give to the charity of your choice before 2012 ends. Give, and increase your 2012 tax deduction. Here are a few writerly ones to consider:
Room to Read: Founded in Nepal in 2000, Room to Read is now a global organization that establishes school libraries, builds schools, publishes local-language children’s books, trains teachers on literacy education, and supports girls to complete secondary school in Africa and Asia. Learn More / Donate.
United for Libraries: United for Libraries is a national network of enthusiastic library supporters who believe in the importance of libraries as the social and intellectual centers of communities and campuses. The mission of United for Libraries is to support citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for all types of libraries. Learn More / Donate.
Girls Write Now: Founded in 1998, New York-based Girls Write Now is the first organization in the country with a writing and mentoring model exclusively for girls. Fifteen years later, they’ve grown from a grassroots collective into a nationally-recognized organization with a robust staff and a highly-structured corps of dedicated volunteers. Girls Write Now has been recognized twice by the White House, The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, the MacArthur Foundation, and the global branding firm Siegel+Gale. In 2012, Youth, I.N.C. honored GWN as one of the most enterprising nonprofits improving the lives of New York City youth. Learn More / Donate.
Worldreader: Worldreader is a US and European non-profit whose mission is to make digital books available to children in the developing world so millions of people can improve their lives. As of November 2012, Worldreader has put over 245, 000 e-books into the hands of 1,000 children in sub-Saharan Africa. Those children now read more, read better, and are improving their communities. Learn More / Donate.
The Office of Letters and Light: The Office of Letters and Light organizes events, including National Novel Writing Month, where kids and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to reach their creative potential. When you donate to the Office of Letters and Light, you help bring free creative writing programs to nearly 350,000 kids and adults in approximately 100 countries, 2,000 classrooms, 200 libraries, and 500 NaNoWriMo regions every year. Learn More / Donate.
viBe Theater Experience: Founded in 2002, viBe provides a safe space for girls (ages 13-19) to write, create and perform collaborative performances about real-life issues as they express their unique voices, foster meaningful relationships, take on challenges, and gain the self-confidence to succeed personally, socially, and academically. viBe’s free programs and productions inspire teenage girls to work together and direct, publish, record, and perform in art forms including theater, dance, poetry, and music. Learn More / Donate.
MediaBistro has a list of worthy charities from 2011 that you should also check out. And of, course, just ’cause you’re a writer doesn’t necessarily mean you only want to support literacy-related organizations. I am personally passionate about OrphanAID Africa, a non-profit based in Ghana that helps poor families keep their children, and provides loving families for abandoned children. We currently have an IndieGogo campaign up to raise money for the kids’ school fees. Learn more about OrphanAID Africa / Donate.