Writing in a Bookstore Window: One NaNoWriMo’s Experience

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and to honor this annual challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, Appletree Books, an independent bookstore in Cleveland Heights, is inviting local writers to write in the window . . . as in its store front window. Local writers have signed up, following the footsteps of writer and Cleveland native Harlan Ellison who was known for writing in bookstore windows.


NaNoWriMo participant Amy Dawson, who is manager of the Literature Department and the Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library, decided to accept Appletree’s invitation.  In the following interview, Amy shares her writer-in-the-window experience below:

Why did you decide to write in Appletree’s window?  I have participated in the NaNoWriMo initiative for the past three years and this outreach effort seemed like the perfect way to support writers who are working at all level and give exposure to this program.  As the Manager of the Literature Department and the Ohio Center for the Book @ Cleveland Public Library I love the creative way Appletree supports Ohio authors!

What was it like working in such a unique space?  First, the window is small but the set up was cozy and comfortable.  It was wonderful to be able to look out at the pedestrians strolling by and, even as I wrote, I felt their interest and support, which kept me motivated to keep writing. It was a busy evening on Cedar Hill.  The energy was fabulous.


Were there any interruptions, like questions from store customers or gestures from people passing by the store window?  Several people stopped to wave, everyone smiled, and one woman jumped and exclaimed to her friend b/c she had mistakenly thought I was a mannequin.

How long did you spend at the bookstore window, working on your novel?   I worked for two hours in the window creating chapter outlines and developing characters.  It was a productive time.

NaNoWriMo in the Window1

Do you want to tell us something about the novel?   All I can say right now is….Pulitzer Prize, baby!

What else would you like to say about your experience?  Contact Appletree Books and see about reserving your spot to write in the window this year for NaNoWriMo.  Also, check out the great selection of books featured on their wall and table top displays.  Featured were the newest winners of national and local competitions as well as staff picks and compelling titles.  Two great choices were the Sandwich Anarchy: The Cult Culinary Posters of Melt Bar & Grilled, by John G. and American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West, by Nate Blakeslee.   And, support your local book store.  Thanks Appletree!