So November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). For those not in the know NaNoWriMo is basically Movember for writers. Whilst men try to grow unsightly facial hair, writers try to grow a story.
The concept works like this. For the month of November you’re just supposed to write. No editing, no re-writing, just getting words down on paper. The aim is to get 50,000 words written by the end of the month. It’s an exercise in discipline (which a lot of writers aren’t known for) and creative freedom.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo once before, and managed to write 46,000 words by the end of the month. That rambling, messy manuscript was eventually tidied up and edited into the 120,000 word epic fantasy novel I currently have gathering dust in my hard drive. It’ll probably never see the light of day, but NaNoWriMo got me writing. It did what is says on the box.
This year I had great plans to do it again, but life got in the way. November was suddenly upon me, and has mostly gone past me before I even realised.
But it’s never too late right? So I have come to this conclusion. Half the month has gone – so I simply need to halve the target and I can still use the inspiration of NaNoWriMo to get some words down on paper.
I started writing a new novel on the 15th – and I’m 10,000 words in. So all I need to do is write another 15,000 by the end of the month. But starting a novel is the easy part – the hard part is keeping up the momentum once you start to get bogged down with trivial little things like needing a plot that actually makes sense.
This is where the tough love bit comes in.
I am a notorious procrastinator. Sometimes I’ll do anything to avoid doing what I should actually be doing. Hell, I’ll even do housework sometimes rather than sit down and force myself to write when the muse isn’t around.
So here’s the deal. To my online friends - my facebook and twitter friends, my family who are too far away to berate me in person, if you see me pissing around on Facebook or any other social media tell me to get the hell off and go and do something productive.
To the people who physically see me – if you see me around, without my laptop, or a notepad and pen (excluding when I’m at work, obviously) you have my full permission to give me a smack around the back of the head. I’m serious.
Trust me, if it gets to the end of the month and I’ve managed to get down 25,000 words, or hopefully more, I’ll thank you for it. In fact, I might even buy you a drink.
For now, my novel awaits. Two hours till work. A thousand words maybe? Come on, I know I can do it!