…or, “Look! I wrote a novel!”
Every November, from the 1st to the 30th of the month, hundreds of thousands of would-be writers around the globe join virtual hands for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, or to give it its proper title, National Novel Writing Month, has been running since 1999 and growing in popularity every year. It has a simple premise: write a 50,000 novel by 11:59:59 on the 30th November.
With that goal in mind, there’s no time for the over-critical internal editor to get his or her sweaty hands on your writing; if you want to make it you’ve got to write around 2,500 words per night. It’s this fact that makes it so successful. I’m sure that there are many of us out there who would like to write a novel, but think they aren’t good enough or aren’t capable. It’s rubbish, everyone can do it if they really want to, you just need to stop judging yourself for long enough (approximately 30 days should do it). The results can be amazing and inspiring.
Last year I took my first dive into the murky waters of story writing – well at least for the first time since high school, which was over 20 years ago. The result was The Righteous Dead, a story about two normal people in a very extraordinary situation. The first draft was 55,000 words and written during November. The second draft was 66,000 and took me another six months. Since receiving my proof copies (a prize for completing NaNoWriMo) I have only allowed them to be read by a few people, who have helped me to refine it further. Holding the printed book in my hands was one of the proudest moments of my life; in some senses I still can’t believe I did it. In the next few months I will either self-publish the book or send it to a literary agent.
Just think, in a few months this could be you. Why don’t you give it a try? There are writers groups all over the country to help you if you need it.
This year I’ll be setting out again on another adventure, this time into sci-fi. I will be accompanied by my friend, and first-time author, Colin Taylor. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Thanks.