National Novel Writing Month - or NaNoWriMo as it is known

Todays date 31 October 2017: National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo is almost upon us! Every year for the month of November, writers take on the challenge of writing a novel in a month. To be quite accurate, the actual target number of words in 50,000 in the month – not quite a full novel (although ‘*The Great Gatsby’ *was this length), but enough words to tax most.

NaNoWriMo has been going since 1999 – there are no formal prizes for participating and nothing terrible will happen if participants don’t achieve the magical 50k word goal but everyone is encouraged to commit via the NaNoWriMo website and link in with the hundreds of thousands of people internationally who also take the challenge. There are, for many of us, local groups who may meet up IRL or on-line to support and each other.

In 2011, I wrote ‘Shadow of the Wing’ - my first novel, during NaNo month. It was my first experience of NaNo and it was the best fun I have had with imaginary friends ever! I did it because I had a severe case of writers block whilst trying to complete my doctoral thesis so I decided to just do something different: It worked. Apart from ending up with a rough, first draft of a novel, I was also subsequently able to go back and complete my (successful) doctoral thesis. My doctoral supervisors at the time were astounded that I would take a whole month out ‘just’ to write fiction but have since suggested it, as a tactic to deal with block, to others doctoral students – and indeed - so have I! It was a ‘pantster’ affair. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write, even when I sat down for each session – the story was a surprise to me.

In 2016 I decided to do it again. This time I plotted a novel out carefully in advance but it was not so much fun and I just couldn’t be bothered with it. I decided that if it bored me, it would bore others, so I abandoned it.

This year I am taking a half way point: I have an idea for my story (working title ‘Tribute”), and some thoughts about the flow of the trajectory of how it will be told but it takes place in a holiday resort in a different country – and somewhere I have only been once in my life, for a weekend! This could be a disaster – or great fun. Either way, I have learned from my unsuccessful 2016. I am going to commit to writing 50k words – and to do it wholeheartedly, regardless of how good – or otherwise – I think they are.

Wish me luck!