Tuesday, 5 November 2013

National Novel Writing Month

November is 'National Novel Writing Month'. The idea is that you write the first 50,000 words of your novel this month. Of course it's a draft - probably a bad draft. And most novels are longer that this, but it's an event bringing together 275,419 novelists this year, working on their own projects in synch, with a sense of community.

Now some people dislike National Novel Writing Month, saying it's an excuse for people to write shoddy novels in a rush and self publish at the end of the month, giving self-publishing a bad name. While I guess there's an element of that, for me it's something quite different.

I'll admit that when I first heard of National Novel Writing Month, I thought it sounded like stupid idea. I mean, why wait for November? And why try to do it in a month? You can do a better job, probably, by taking your time, and writing it carefully.

However, I've since decided that perhaps National Novel Writing Month could be a useful event for me after all. I've been intending to tackle my half-cut unfinished novel for the past year. It was hand-written 20 years ago and ran out of steam. Parts of it have potential and there are some good ideas but it is badly in need of a rewrite. On 2 November I decided to begin that rewrite. National Novel Writing Month has given me a kick up the butt to get on with it.

So to those people who say National Novel Writing Month is all about rushing to complete a shoddy piece of work. Here's my answer...

For me, it’s not about rushing. I need to prioritise this book or it will never be written. I have a day job writing magazine articles that have been taking priority. They will continue to take priority in November, but setting myself a target to do as much as I can on evenings and weekends, will give me a kick up the butt to prioritise it during my leisure time (which otherwise tends to get swallowed up with paying work too). That’s why I have joined the novelists on National Novel Writing Month. Frankly, it’s also nice to have a sense of community egging you on!

Perhaps I’ll only complete 30,000 words, I don’t care – I just needed to get this prioritised. A month of intense commitment to getting on with it, is helping me move it to the next stage – to the first decent draft. Or perhaps just half a draft. By the end of National Novel Writing Month my novel will be in a better place than it was at the start. That's what's important.

For more about National Novel Writing Month www.nanowrimo.org

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  1. This is what (and why) I'm doing it as well. I write short stories but "Don't have time" to write a novel. Forcing myself to try and get 2,000 words down most nights (I'm already behind) means that I'll just barge through the story without worrying too much, then I can go back and edit and make it (hopefully) readable.

    1. Excellent! I'm behind too. :-) But only just. Will make up for it this weekend. Good luck with your novel. :-)