By Molly Hayden, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Public Affairs November 12, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- I don't want to brag, but I'm a first-rate procrastinator.
Every year when National Novel Writing Month rolls around in November, I swear to spend the month hunched over my computer pounding out the novel that's been in my head for years.
But, alas, I have yet to finish it. And by finish it, I mean start it.
This year will be different, though; this year I have support.
Every Tuesday during the month of November, aspiring novelists are invited to Tower Barracks USO, Building 150, at 5:30 p.m. to share ideas and critique each others' work.
The "support group," run by Britta Jensen, is intended to provide resources and education, as well as much-needed inspiration.
"This is a chance to write that book you've always wanted to but never had the courage to," said Jensen.
You don't have to be a professional writer to participate. In fact, National Novel Writing Month started specifically to encourage nonwriters to complete their first novel.
The goal was simply to get people to write, regardless of writing ability.
The challenge, often shortened to NaNoWriMo and pronounced phonetically, summons participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
Participants log their entries on the official website, www.nanowrimo.org, which offers helpful tools and various writing forums. Word counts are then validated on the site as writers submit a final copy of their rough draft.
To be honest, less than 10 percent of NaNoWriMo participants complete the task by deadline, but the goal is more about the experience of trying.
It's a lesson in creativity and capability. For 30 days, writers buckle down, watch less television, let the dishes pile up and attempt an amazing feat.
And many renowned books, including "Water for Elephants," "Fangirl" and "The Night Circus," have come from this challenge.
It's ambitious, yes, but worth the effort.
Writer or not, the NaNoWriMo support group will at least point you in the right (or is it write?) direction.