Got the write stuff? Sun editor leads National Novel Writing Month launch in North Port

Venice Gondolier Sun editor Scott Lawson provides direction at the launch of the November North Port Public Library’s National Novel Writing Month.

NORTH PORT — You can do it. Because others have.

That was the message Friday to aspiring writers at North Port Public Library’s launch of November’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a program pushing novice storytellers to find their fictional voice, to put words to paper, 50,000 to be exact, in 30 days.

Those in the free program should crank out about seven pages of story, poem, screenplay, or memoir copy, anything creative, each day. The idea over 30 days is to produce a novel, but just as important is getting into the daily rhythm of writing, said Scott Lawson, editor of the Venice Gondolier Sun and practicing novelist keynoting Friday’s program in North Port.

Lawson gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to one aspiring writer’s dream of personifying a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, for instance, and another’s goal of producing a memoir for his grandchildren. Any act of creativity to get the juices working, he said.

“We all have something to say, experiences to share,” said Lawson, a veteran journalist who most recently wrote a series of stories for Sun newspapers about the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas. In the time before and during a 25-year career, he has also produced creative writing. Though not published, fictional characters, dialogue and plot drive his journalism to be more compelling, holding a reader with the humor and drama of how we really live … and sometimes die.

National Novel Writing Month is a nonprofit designed to drive creativity, but also language fluency, education and the pure love of reading and writing. Starting with a handful of participants in 1999, the program in November 2017 drew some 500,000 writers, volunteers and others.

It’s goal of 50,000 words in 30 days is simple: You talk about your Great American Novel, now here’s the chance to develop your chops, to get busy and see how things unfold — perhaps realize a dream.

Published (and serious) writers such as Erin Morgenstern (“The Night Circus”) and Sara Gruen (“Water for Elephants”) began their careers as aspiring National Novel Writing Month participants. You get involved by visiting the National Novel Writing Month website. Certificates and other good things await those completing the 50,000 words by midnight Nov. 30.

And the message to the 10 aspiring writers Friday at the North Port Public Library was to stop talking and hit the keyboard.

“Write, write, write … don’t worry about anything else,” Lawson said.

Novel ideas?

More information about National Novel Writing Month is at

Sarasota County’s North Port Public Library, November writing sessions, start at 1:30 p.m., Saturdays with laptops and encouragement supplied. Keynote workshops are on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, at 13800 S. Tamiami Trail. For more information:, 941-861-1300


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