If you’re going to start a novel, November is probably the time to do it. (National Novel Writing Month)

When National Novel Writing Month began, the name was jokey hyperbole. 21 people met daily in a cafe to see if it was possible to write a short book (50,000 words) in a month.

Twenty-one years later, it is an international on-line community and “national” is an understatement. In 2015, there were more than 400,000 participants around the world. (Thanks Wiki! Ed).

Most years I think about joining in, sometimes I begin, but I’ve only reached the 50k once. To most people, it probably seems insane to even think about.

So, why do it?

1. Momentum

Most people, including me, have to write without stopping to think to have any chance of getting to the finish line. This sounds like a bad thing, but you’ll be surprised how your imagination takes over after a while and good stuff seeps into your manuscript. The magic in a novel may be in the editing, but you need something to edit.

2. The Buzz

Come November 1st, an entire community will put their heads down to write. The forums are humming with activity. Many are posting their experience or tips and tricks on social media. You just don’t get this many opportunities for writerly procrastination the rest of the year.

3. The Stats

Charts and breakdowns of your progress so far and the work you need to meet your goal. I become obsessed. This is proof I did manage more than 50k once, with the novel that has now become Baby Roulette:

And here’s a screenshot of the stats page set up for this year:

4. The freebies and special offers

If you want to try out Scrivener, for instance, this is a great opportunity. There’s a special trial version for the event, a 20% discount code for participants and if you do reach 50k, you can buy it for half-price.

I’ve already waxed lyrical about Scrivener here.

5. The wild sense of achievement getting anywhere near your goal

The kind that usually requires writers to publish a book, deliver a baby or run a marathon.

Is anybody else thinking about it? Let me know in the comments.

8 Thoughts

  1. There are many wonderful opportunities for procrasination in the world, but doesn’t spending time in all those buzzing forums seriously eat into whatever writing time you have in which to pen nearly 2000 words a day if you are to meet the November challenge? Wouldn’t it be best to avoid the forums and just write and write and write?


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