Yes, it’s that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month is upon us, and this probably accounts for why most of my writing friends have disappeared. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to all writers, professional and amateur, to write a whole novel (that’s 50,000 words) in one month. That is thirty days. And if you do the maths, that’s 1666.66 words per day. Could you do it?

It’s a huge commitment, one that I personally have yet to make, but it’s no excuse to hole up in your bedroom chained to your desk getting up only for coffee. All over the world (it’s unclear which nation’s national month this is) writers are getting together in café’s, art galleries, laboratories, etc. to motivate one another and for the strength of numbers. Of course, you are still allowed to write in your fluffy bunny slippers with a thermos of coffee at 3am in your own kitchen, but it just shows that this is not a solitary project.

If you haven’t already started, do not despair! There are still 18 days left, and 2777.8 words per day isn’t that much, is it? These fifty thousand words don’t have to be your best writing, nor does the finished product have to be ready for publication by the 1st of December. It could just be a first draft. It could even be a collection of short stories, or poems, or a screenplay. Write what you want, and don’t look back until you reach your destination. You don’t even have to get it finished by the end of the month. You’ll have made a good start on your first novel, and you can try and beat your word count next year.

But can it be done? Thirty days is a very short time, considering a lot of writers spend years researching, planning, writing and rewriting their work. Can any good come of it? Will we simply be inundated with unedited, self-published “innovations” of the Fifty Shades variety? Of course not. Nobody expects a whole novel to be flawless in one month, but it’s the time and effort you put in that counts. Every writer knows how difficult it is to find time to write, even if it’s just fifteen minutes a day. It’s easy to write a chapter and throw it away. It’s easy to give up before you’ve begun because you can’t plan it. NaNoWriMo is a challenge because it asks you to commit to your dream, to really go for something no matter how daunting a task, and to make the effort to finish what you start.

Get stuck in at

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