I’ve decided to get serious about working on a novel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve talked the talk over the years, but I’ve fallen into bad habits and made excuses. It’s time I walked the walk. To help me get going I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo. For those who’ve never heard of it, National Novel Writing Month is a great event which encourages people to start writing in the boldest way imaginable: by attempting to write a whole novel in one month. It takes place in November, and over those 30 days thousands of wannabe writers strive to reach the target of 50,000 words – about 175 pages of prose.
I know it sounds crazy, but it’s a brilliant idea designed to get people writing. Many people have writing aspirations but too often get hung up on quality and get stuck trying to tweak things into perfection one sentence or paragraph at a time. We all want perfection straight away, but writing, like most things in life, doesn’t work that way. Therein lies the greatness of NaNoWriMo – it’s all about quantity not quality, it’s about opening up and letting yourself get the words out on the page.
I’ve wanted to take part in for years but finding time in November wasn’t easy, as fellow young Australians would know. First it was high school exams. The TEE. Then uni exams and mind-crumblingly long essays. After that there was all the travelling. Finally there was nothing left in the way except life itself. In the future I won’t have any more time in a day or a week than I do now, so I’m going to get started.
In July they hold Camp NaNoWriMo, a similar concept with a little more flexibility. You set your own word count goal and try to write a novel or novella in July while being in a virtual “cabin” with 6 to 8 other writers, encouraging each other and sharing ideas. I’m really excited to take part, and have some story ideas I’d like to work on. So if you don’t hear from me for the next month or so, that’s why. Or if you hear from me and I’ve gone crazy that’s why. And if there are any other aspiring authors reading this, I encourage you to give it a go yourself.