I’m not sure where the week goes but it certainly seems to race round when it come to me trying to write my blog post for each Monday. I had no idea what I was going to write this week but then thought I’d mention the challenge I’m setting myself through November, again. Yes, it’s time for National Novel Writing Month!
The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. This is basically 1666 words a day, every day.
Is 50K words a novel? I hear you ask. Well, just about, I tend to think. Some authors are writing shorter books now, indeed my new series is meant to be one made up of shorter books, should any of them actually get finished! But it does depend on the genre and in fact the story you are telling. A novel does have to be as long as is necessary to tell the story.
And does this mean there will be a flood of these books hitting the virtual shelves in the next few months? I sincerely hope not, because getting this 50K down is just the start. After that you need to plough on with the writing until the story is complete and at that point all you have is a first draft. Most authors will then spend months editing. Then editing again. Then sending the manuscript to at least one editor before doing another round of editing. Then at that point, when you are absolutely sure nothing else needs to be done to what you consider to be your polished novel it can go to a proof reader for a final buffing up. While you do all the other business of being an author; getting covers designed, writing blurbs, planning your marketing campaign, etc.
The great thing for me about NaNoWriMo is that it breaks the back of getting the first draft done, and we all know how much I dislike writing first drafts.
I first heard about this in 2014 when I’d published A Single Step but was dithering about getting Before the Dawn finished. My daughter spotted NaNoWriMo a few days into November, told me about it and by the end of November the first draft of Before the Dawn was finished. So it works, for me.
Since then I’ve always tackled some large piece of writing during November, although I’ve not joined NaNoWriMo officially since, just getting those words down on my own instead.
That first time I just launched into it as November had already started but it is sensible to do a little planning. Although you need to aim for a minimum of 1666 a day you need to check though your diary… admittedly mine’s a little bare in this most unusual of years… but discount any days that due to a day job, childcare arrangements, family birthdays or whatever you are going to struggle to meet your target. Recalculate what you need to accomplish on the days left and you will have a more realistic daily word count goal.
It will also help if you have a vague idea of the story you are going to write, like me, or, if you are one of the plotters out there, have detailed chapter plans, maps, graphs, charts, post-it’s, character descriptions, arcs, and so on, but then I guess if you are that organised you will already have your November fully planned out with your writing time already blocked. I really must get round to doing that at some point…
You never know this might be the right time for you to finally get that book inside you written.
Over to you… Are you taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge this year? If so, what planning have you done? If you’ve tackled this challenge before, did you eventually get round to publishing that book? I’d love to know.