It's twenty four hours and counting until the start of National Novel Writing Month 2013 (NaNoWriMo) and I have to admit I've got a sudden rush of nerves. The aim of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've done it two years in a row and "won" both times, so there's a fair amount of pressure, on myself, from myself, to do it again this year.
Don't get me wrong, I love NaNoWriMo, it's what got me into creative writing, having long dreamed about writing a novel. I do well with strict deadlines, a community of support and a bit of competition - you can see how your friends are doing with their daily word count on the NaNo site. (http://nanowrimo.org/) It gives you a real boost of motivation, at least it does for me.
I've got an idea simmering in my mind, with a few notes on paper. I'm not really a strict planner, I like to have an idea for the next scene and then just sit down and write - characters pop up out of nowhere and twists happen that I never saw coming - that's part of the fun. I feel like I'm the very first person to get to experience the story and it's one of my favourite parts of writing.
This particular story has been floating around in my head for over a year and I love that NaNo gives me a very clear target to get it done by. I am taking a break from my ongoing novel to get this written and it excites me that I'm going to meet a whole host of new characters over the next thirty days - I know my current cast rather well by now, they feel like old friends and I am ready for a few new ones.
I do get worried that the words will dry up, that I won't have anything to say, or that this year I won't complete the challenge. Not the end of the world; but I know I will be disappointed. At the same time, I can feel the story calling, tingling inside me, waiting to flow (hopefully) from my fingertips and I cannot wait to just start. The starting is always the hardest part, then you just have to keep going!
Will you be joining me in NaNoWriMo this year?
The Choice - imagine a world where sugar is illegal, baking is a crime and the government use diet, exercise and shame to keep people in line. Winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition, Good Housekeeping Book of the Month and The Times Audiobook of the Week. The Choice is available now as a paperback, ebook and audiobook.