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Standard Deviations: Blew NaNoWriMo? Here’s your chance at redemption

By Mark Saal - | Nov 20, 2016
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President Barack Obama, with National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas, applaud during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, where the president pardoned National Thanksgiving Turkey Abe. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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President Barack Obama pardons Abe, the National Thanksgiving Turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. This is the 68th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

We're nearly three weeks into November. So, how's that novel going?

As some of you may recall, at the beginning of November I wrote about National Novel Writing Month -- also known as NaNoWriMo -- and invited readers to join me in starting that long-overdue book. The goal was to work on our writing every single day, with the ultimate goal of coming up with 50,000 words by Nov. 30.

If you've been keeping up with the pace, you should have just passed 30,000 words in the last day or two.

RELATED: C'mon! What say we write a novel?

Of course, if you're anything like me, your enthusiasm for the project lasted all of the better part of a week before life intruded and you started missing a day of writing here and there. And then you missed a couple of days in a row. Finally, you simply stopped writing altogether.

That's my confession, anyway. I'm just a little more than six thousand words in, and my novel is now officially deader than a mixer at a an actuarial conference. Indeed, about the only writing I've done in the last week -- outside of my day job -- is to add up the tip and sign my name on the credit card receipt at my favorite restaurant.

Oh, well. There's always next year.

Or, better yet, how about this week?

RELATED: What are you grateful for this year? Share your story in our Thanksgiving paper 

That's right, we've got a sure-fire, simplified way to become a published writer -- by Thursday, even! Why not submit something for the Standard-Examiner's Thanksgiving Day newspaper?

Editors at the Standard-Examiner are giving you, the reader, the opportunity to have your thoughts published in an actual daily publication. On Thanksgiving, we here at the newspaper will publish as many community members' stories of gratitude as we can.

Maybe you have a tale to share about someone you're thankful for, whom you'd like to thank publicly for an act of love or service. Maybe you have a favorite Thanksgiving memory from a long-ago family gathering. Or maybe you just have a blessing in your life that you're particularly grateful for, and would like everyone to know about.

Whatever your own personal tale of thankfulness, we encourage you to write it down and share it with the rest of us.

To participate, email your story to fromthecommunity@standard.net. Or, if you're still stuck in the 1980s, send it by U.S. Postal Service to Standard-Examiner, 332 Standard Way, Ogden, UT 84404, Attn: Ann Elise Taylor. Include your first and last names, your city of residence, and a phone number -- in case we have questions about your submission.

But hurry! Stories need to be submitted by 5 p.m. this Tuesday, Nov. 22, so get a move on. (Hey, if you're like me, you work best on a deadline.) And editors tell me that while it's entirely not necessary, you should feel free to include photos, or even a video, if you're so inclined.

It's important to note there is no age limit for these story submissions. We're just as interested in hearing from a 9-year-old as a 90-year-old.

Of course, the best part about this Thanksgiving Day essay is that it's a heck of a lot easier than that whole NaNoWriMo challenge. That one was a daunting 50,000 words spread out over an entire month, while this one is limited to roughly 500 words or less. Which shouldn't take more than an hour or two, tops.

Piece of cake, right?

Editors have promised to publish in the newspaper as many of the stories as they can, although they can't make any guarantees. And all submissions -- provided they meet basic standards of decency -- will be posted to our website.

So, c'mon. Whadaya say? Inspire us, entertain us. Make us laugh, make us cry.

Tell us your own personal story of thanksgiving. It'll be a great way to start the holidays.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.

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