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.