Na No Wri Mo stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place every November. The concept? Very straightforward: Write a Novel in 30 days.
Yup. 30 days. As in a month. Write a novel in 30 days whilst also doing all the stuff you normally do like work, eat, poop and sleep. Is that even possible?
I guess there is only one way to find out…
On the 1st of November I will be joining the thousands of writers around the world in trying to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days (50,000 is the official NaNoWriMo aim).
But before I get ahead of myself and get too excited, I’m going to start by being quite pessimistic (sorry) and admitting: I’m not 100% confident in this challenge. I absolutely love writing, but truth be told I’ve been struggling to write a novel for about 18 months now, so I’m not sure how I expect to write one in 30 days. Read a novel? Yes. Write a novel? Not confident, not even slightly. And I thought I would share with you why…
I originally came up with the idea for my novel over 18 months ago whilst sat on yet another delayed tube. Within a few weeks I began working on it, like solidy dedicating myself to it, and writing into the early hours of the morning. But in a Mac cleanup disaster it got deleted off my boyfriends laptop. Cue twenty minutes of tears followed by three hours of drinking wine (seriously, Gutted, doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt). In a sulk – at myself for not backing it up – I shelved it for a few months. I would still jot down ideas, interesting character names and was forever playing around with the actual plot. But I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write the thing.
But in January this year I signed up to a creative writing course with award winning author Kerry Hudson. The course was for first time writers who basically had a story, an idea, but no clue how to turn it into a novel. The course mays well have been called Tink, we know how to help you write that dam novel that’s keeping you awake at night. And it turned out to be wonderful, and not just because Kerry provided us with yummy tea and cake every week (sometimes even viennese whirls! God I could eat one of them right now) but because she was so down to earth when it came to teaching us and helping us with our stories. Her exercises were brilliant, her words were inspiring and her pep talks so unbelievably encouraging.
Once the course was complete in April, I felt totally prepared. Kerry had not only given me bags of confidence, but a clear path to writing, editing and completing my novel. I was ready.
But when I began writing it in May this year, I hated it. Literally hated it.
You see, I guess the story I’m writing falls under the Fantasy category. So trying to describe something in a beautiful or engaging way is already a challenge for a writer. But trying to describe something that doesn’t even exist, and in a way that lets the reader image it for themselves and believe it’s real, that just felt impossible to me. It was infuriating; the words and sentences I was putting together were NOT doing the world I had built up in my head any justice and I felt completely overwhelmed.
I decided to put myself on another creative writing course. This one was a one-off intense session focusing on creating fantasy worlds in fiction. Unfortunately, once the session was in full swing I realised I was one of the very few unpublished writers there. And easily the youngest. I was surrounded by novelists who had come with burning questions about how to continue their worlds in their second or third book. I felt my confidence crumble a little.
Then came the exercises which were incredibly hard. I was the last to finish every single task, in fact I even lied about completing the final one because I was too embarrassed to admit that I was STILL trying to finish it. My confidence was no longer crumbling but landsliding.
How did I react? In typical me fashion, I basically deleted everything I had previously wrote and scrapped the whole thing. So thats goodbye draft no.2. A tad dramatic yes but I stupidly convinced myself that the story was daft, that I wasn’t a very good fiction writer and that I should probably concentrate on other things. And to be fair I’m glad I had the Summer to focus on other things, because this wonderful thing happened *applauds* BUT, reading about #NaNoWriMo today made me rethink my whole story, not to mention rethink my writing ability. Maybe I can write fiction. The second I began to consider this I got a rush of excitement just thinking about writing my story again and reviving my beloved characters (I had actually missed them).
So I may not be 100% confident, not even close, but like every challenge I take on, I’m going to give this a damn good try. Even if I were to only get to 20,000 words by day 30, or even 10,000, that would be an achievement! Especially as November is looking to be the busiest month of my year so far, so here’s hoping I can do it. I predict I’ll be writing at all kinds of hours. At the moment I’m freelancing back at my old job at the usual office hours, then coming home and blogging and working for my other clients in the evenings and on weekends, and my diarys is jamp packed with events. Jeez – this is one hell of a challenge I’ve set myself.
How about you? Considering it? Need some convincing? Check out the results below of a NaNoWriMo survey conducted by Stop Procrastinating (infographic alert!). I have to admit, I’m massively impressed by the 3% who completed their 50,000 words on a type writer. Not so massively impressed by the 12%who wrote it on the loo. Ew.