Last year I heard of a really insane sounding project called NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The basic idea is that during the month of November, people from all over the world sit down and write the novel they have always wanted to write.
It was something I had on my wish list - write a book, which I had always wanted to do; but had never found the time or the motivation to actually get down to.
The challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days which sounds completely mad and impossible; but every year hundreds of thousands of people attempt the challenge and lots of them are successful! Some even get their books published - for example The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which we just read for the Live in Love in Laugh in book club. (Amazing book, a must read - we all agreed!)
I know that a lot of my readers won't have the energy to write 50,000 words, but that's ok read on...
I found out that you have to write 1,667 words a day to complete the challenge and I thought I could manage that, or at least have a go. I'd been doing a daily blog, so it didn't seem too much of a stretch.
When I started I wasn't sure what to expect, I hadn't written anything creative since I left school, that is other than my virtual holidays from home; but they are factual with an imaginative twist, not a story. This was something completely new to me! I had been making up stories in my head since I was bedbound; I found it a great way to escape the boredom and frustration; but I'd never written them down and this was now my goal. The question was where to start?
I had an idea for a story and set out with a huge amount of fear and trepidation - could I write? Was it even possible to have that many words inside me? Turns out there were a whole lot more than 50,000. I ended up doing two novels during November, writing a total of 104,000 words! I know I was totally shocked; but the truth was I loved every minute of it. It taught me a lot about working through blocks, keeping going and not giving up. I would really recommend it to anyone that has always dreamed of writing a book; but doesn't know where to start.
Fancy joining me this year? We can be writing buddies - you just sign up here... It's free to take part and you get a snazzy badge like the one at the top to say you're taking part and another one if you finish! My goal this year is to just do one novel; but to go back and edit it, then send it to an agent. My ambition is to be a published, best-selling fiction author and it's time to make that happen.
So for anyone that wants to write; but can't manage 50,000 words - it is a challenge, I have to work harder at my pacing so that I can do it; but I find it's worth it as I feel so much better in myself when I write.
Instead of normal NaNo I want to extend an invitation - let's have a go at writing 5,000 words in a month - that's a short-ish story; but is definitely do-able. It works out at 167 words a day, far less than a third of this blog post! If we all write a story then I will put them together into a free e-book you can distribute to your family and friends - it would make a great Christmas/Non-holiday specific gift and you get the pleasure in calling yourself a published author.
Leave me a comment to let me know if you fancy having a go or drop me an email.
I can't wait, I know it's going to be so much fun! Hurry up November!
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.