National Novel Writing Month (11/11/11)

So it’s that time of year again and my Twitter stream is full of #NaNoWriMo hashtags and people jumping up and down about wordcounts. The jumping, I’ve noticed, tends to start off mostly happy at the start of the month and the gradually grow more forlorn. By the end of the month, I don’t see much jumping at all.

I have reservations about NaNoWriMo. I’ve never tried it myself because it’s never happened to fit into my schedule. When I look at my schedule now, I’ll be trying to write a novel in a month in February, and then again in May, and frankly the prospect scares the crap out of me. I’ve written probably twenty novels now (if you count all the first drafts that were completed but never went any further) and I’ve never written one in a month. I’ve never written a first draft in a month. I’ve got it from somewhere that the challenge for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words, which is more like half a novel for me (a quarter of the one I’m beating myself up with right now). Well I’ve done that. I’ve written new material at about 15,000 words a week, and it was bloody hard work and took a long time to get there.

I guess what I’m saying is that 50,000 words in a month is a big challenge, and particularly so if you have other demands on your time, like a job or a family. If you can do it, you have my admiration. If you can’t, well just keep going. Look at what you did at the end of November and consider it a success and keep going. Because that’s the other reservation I have about NaNoWriMo – writing isn’t just a thing you do for a month. Even if you finish a novel in a month, there’s rewriting and more rewriting and there’s the next novel and the one after that. Writing is for life, not just for November.

So good luck, don’t be a slave to wordcounts, and remember: It’s supposed to be fun!


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