NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s known to its chums. While several of my friends spend the month  of Movember growing moustaches in the name of raising awareness about cancers affecting men, I will be endeavouring to bang out 50,000 words of a novel.

The basic principle is this – most of us believe we Have A Book In Us. It’s one of those givens in life isn’t it? At some point in our lives we’ve all thought we could be the next J K Rowling. We just can’t be bothered. The aim of NaNoWriMo then isn’t to create a masterpiece, or to spend hours a day carefully crafting sentences, it is just to write, to make the time to sit down and actually get some words on a page. It doesn’t matter how good they are, it’s a matter of quantity rather quality, creating the habit of writing rather than thinking about writing and then getting tired and watching repeats of CSI instead. On the website, you can create a profile, monitor your progress, and link up with other writers. You can even share your work if you are feeling brave.

Last year I managed 30,000 words. Not the target 50,000, but not bad for a first attempt. I was writing a murder mystery and could have got further if it wasn’t for the complete lack of plot. I had a basic idea, a starting point, and was hoping that I would be one of those crime writers who don’t know the end when they begin, but who discover who did it and why as they go along. I wasn’t. By 30,000 words I had an as yet unidentified body, no clues, and no idea how the crime could have been committed.

This year, to save having to worry about details like plot and storyline, I will be writing what I do best – a self-indulgent, autobiographical stream of consciousness. No one has to ever read it after all. I do have an idea of where I want to start, and certain events I want to cover, but mainly I am doing it for the challenge of writing every day. I’m also quite keen to get all the stuff about me out of the way. They say that first novels tend to be highly autobiographical – an opportunity to get down all those things you think are interesting in your life, all the jokes you ever wanted to tell, and, believe it or not, I don’t really want to bore people with a whole book full of that. I thought if I could get that all over and done with, then next November I might be able to write something that people would actually want to read.

I’m off to a good start. Waking up an hour earlier than normal today, getting confused by the amount of light in my bedroom, I sat in bed with my laptop and wrote over 2,000 words before anyone else was awake. If I can just keep that up for another 29 days I’ll be sorted.

I just need to resist the urge to spend my time instead creating my own book colour histogram…

If you’re taking part, and want to add me as a writing buddy, or just want to check my progress, check out my NaNoWriMo profile.



  1. 1 November, 2010 / 9:47 am

    All buddied up!

    • 1 November, 2010 / 1:22 pm

      Hoorah! Seeing other people’s word counts creep up is my main driving force… Have you done it before?

  2. 1 November, 2010 / 9:56 am

    Yay, go Jo! I got up at 6am and had 1,748 words by 7.45am. Now, as you say, to keep it up for another 29 days…

    • 1 November, 2010 / 1:20 pm

      Super! Am I allowed to know the story or is it top secret? I’m planning on getting in loads this week so I can have Saturday off – anticipating a rather large hangover after carnival :-) Are you still coming down to stay?

  3. Pingback: Nanowrimo
  4. 1 November, 2010 / 11:35 am

    What a brillinat idea, thanks for this. I just signed up and buddied up. Found you via BMB :)
    Good Luck!

  5. 1 November, 2010 / 12:12 pm

    Didn’t know you were having another go – great! You have prob had my email by now which explains why i can give it a go after all!

  6. 1 November, 2010 / 12:24 pm

    Good for you hun. I too have signed up and will be writing in the evenings when Youngling is asleep. So excited and nervous at the same time as have two ideas and not sure where to start or which one to follow?!? – always welcoming new friends xx

    • 1 November, 2010 / 1:18 pm

      Ooh well done! What are the ideas?? Last year I found the time constraints really hard, so I would recommend going with whichever one you think will flow most easily, and require the least planning!

  7. 1 November, 2010 / 1:12 pm

    Would it be cheating to work on the Camel Story?

    • 1 November, 2010 / 1:13 pm

      If we each did 50K, it would be 100K! And that would be fantastic. Plus we already have a good start. :-)

      • 1 November, 2010 / 1:17 pm

        That would be fantastic… I did think about doing the camel story. My worry would be the complete lack of editing, and a slight lack of plot…

        How about, as I am clearly going to be in a writing frame of mind, we do the camel story as an extra. Maybe we could take it in turns to write 1000 words or so a day and just send it between us? You’d have to cut me some slack on it being a first draft though…

      • 1 November, 2010 / 1:17 pm

        P.S. Is it my turn? I’m guessing it is…

        • 1 November, 2010 / 6:49 pm

          That sounds great to me. I have been learning how to publish on Kindle, so when we are done with it, we can go back through. Do some editing and then make it available to the world!

          And yes, it is your turn. :-)

          • 1 November, 2010 / 8:42 pm

            Right. 1,000 words tomorrow. Promise :-)

  8. 1 November, 2010 / 3:01 pm

    good luck! yeah you’re right why bother making up all these pesky characters – just get into your brain and see what you fish out

    • 1 November, 2010 / 8:45 pm

      In that case it’s DEFINITELY a good job no one ever has to read it :-)

  9. 1 November, 2010 / 4:12 pm

    Wow, that’s dedicated…I will most definitely not be getting up any earlier but then again I tend to work better at night. I’ve done 220 words today whilst we were eating lunch and my plot sounds a bit like yours last year, I have a beginning and end though and no middle as yet! Ooops. We’ll see what happens. ;) Good luck with yours. x

    • 1 November, 2010 / 8:46 pm

      Two out of three isn’t bad at all – I only had the beginning last year! I am definitely a ‘get up early on the day of a deadline’ person – my brain turns to mush after about 9pm…

  10. 1 November, 2010 / 4:36 pm

    Best of luck! I’m doing it in an attempt to shift my writers block. Probably not the best of ideas!

    Good luck!!!

    • 1 November, 2010 / 8:47 pm

      It’s perfect for that! It’s so easy to get blocked when you are worried about writing something GOOD – with this you can just write whatever you like, and not worry about it being high quality!

    • 1 November, 2010 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks Nicola, I will check it out. I’m up to 3,100 words now… *first day enthusiasm, bound to wear off soon*

  11. 1 November, 2010 / 8:11 pm

    Good for you and the very best of luck. This is my first year – I’m already ‘behind’ as have wedding anniversary dinner tonight – still did 900 words somehow during the day though. Will have to make up for it tomorrow. What an achievement it would be ….

    • 1 November, 2010 / 8:41 pm

      Good luck! Don’t think about it as being behind, think about it as ‘warming up’ – you can easily make it up – just let’s the words spew out :-)

  12. maryfclark
    1 November, 2010 / 9:25 pm

    very impressive! I think I maybe have an outline. I am well behind, no matter what you say…and I have to finish a book review this evening, so won’t get much more done.

    • 2 November, 2010 / 9:33 am

      I worked it out and even if you did nothing yesterday that just means an extra 58 words every day for the rest of the month. Very doable :-)

  13. samantha
    1 November, 2010 / 9:37 pm

    Oh whoops! I haven’t written anything today. Does this count?

    • 1 November, 2010 / 10:26 pm

      Woo hoo! Have written something on my eljay, although I am following Wrisomifu – write something you miserable ****.

      • 2 November, 2010 / 9:30 am

        Haha! Well done :-)

        Are you still coming for carnival?

  14. 2 November, 2010 / 10:03 pm

    Ha… 50,000 a month, I will probably bet that I will not make it! I struggle just to get a few blog posts out a week.

    Although, I definitely still have that book I know I could write in me!!!!!

    Good luck :)

    • 3 November, 2010 / 9:33 am

      In a way, I think it’s nice to keep the book inside you sometimes. In my head, book ideas are BRILLIANT, but the minute I try to get them down on paper, suddenly they don’t seem so fantastic after all :-)

    • 3 November, 2010 / 9:34 am

      I have actually arranged all my bookcases in colour order before. It’s really fun!

  15. 3 November, 2010 / 10:42 am

    Best of luck with it! I’m doing it too. Writing a novel in a month is certainly more fun than growing a moustache…

    • 4 November, 2010 / 9:38 am

      Yes, that’s very true, and I will hopefully have more luck with the novel too…

  16. 8 November, 2010 / 11:55 am

    Uh oh. I think I reached the point last night that you reached at 30,000 words last year — except I’m only at 14,000. I hoping to have some inspiration during the course of the day today, so I can bang out another 2.000 words tonight. We’ll see….

    • 10 November, 2010 / 10:38 am

      You’re doing well though! I got to 6,000 and had a brief mental breakdown, I should post about it really…

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