By Stephanie Russo
This November, Heather Bolton has plenty to do as international challenge National Novel Writing Month gets under way.
Known as NaNoWriMo for short, the online activity challenges anyone, anywhere, to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month.
This is 1,667 words a day – just under four, single-spaced, typed pages.
Beginning in America in 2006, the fast-paced, high-volume event now has thousands of participants all over the world, and needs plenty of volunteers to wrangle them.
Heather, who has taken part every year since 2009, is now taking a more active role within the community as official Municipal Liason (ML) for the north Perth region.
“Perth North hasn’t had an ML for a while so I decided I might as well step up and, you know, actually give us one!” she says.
Her job is to encourage and guide every ‘NaNo-er’ in north Perth along the 50,000 word journey to victory by organising events, meeting fellow writers, and sending out encouraging emails along the way.
“It’s a lot of things I haven’t done before … it’s getting me out of my shell a little.”
Seasoned ML and author Rebecca Laffar-Smith is the Municipal Liaison for south-east Perth, Heather’s sister region.
“I’m definitely doing what I can to help Heather as she MLs for the first time and I’m happy to help her in any way I can,” Ms Laffar-Smith says.
Ms Laffar-Smith’s highly-attended Write Along The Highway sessions help provide some structure for a new Municipal Liaison, and reinforcements for a veteran.
“In a way, Heather is helping me!” Ms Laffar-Smith said. “She’s helping Write Along the Highway and the north Perth community discover that sense of community that has made such a difference for south Perth.”
Ms Bolton says she plans to draw on her own experiences as a participant to give advice and support to others.
Her best advice for the month of speed-writing ahead is simple:
“Not to hit the backspace button! Just write, and you can always edit later.”