Thursday, November 29, 2012

50,104 Words in 25 days

In the middle of October I came across National Novel Writing Month through a fellow blogger's blog. I decided writing 50,000 words in thirty days would be good fun!

I've written several novels, five young adult fiction and one non-fiction, but never in just thirty days. This challenge of quantity over quality would be a new one for me but one which I was quite excited to take.

Fortunately I have a two hour commute three days a week, which makes for prime writing time. An hour in the morning and an hour in the evening plus the occasional hour or two as and when I could fit them in.

I started out strong, completing over double the 1,600 word daily target they set through the NaNoWriMo website. For the first few weeks it looked like I was going to be just fine with pushing through to 50K, but about mid-way through I started to flag.

Difficulty in keeping up momentum is why the novels I've written previously were completed over several years. Often I'd write the first half, hit a giant block, and just stop. Not with NaNoWriMo this isn't part of the plan. The aim is to get those words down, no matter what. I had to push through writer's block and feeling like what I was writing was probably crap, until I gained the momentum again.

My writing definitely moved in peaks and valleys and I have to admit, on the 20th of the month I feared I wouldn't make it or, that I would complete the novel without having hit 50,000 words. the average fiction novel is about 47,000 words so this wouldn't be unreasonable, but 50K was the aim so I persevered.

I'm happy to say that I completed my goal on the 25th of November, rounding my novel off in a way that I was satisfied with which also surpassed the target ever so slightly.

My experience of this was interesting as I found many friends, family and co-workers who had either participated before or were doing it that year for the first, second or third time. The general impression I got was that most of us have a novel inside us. We have characters, a plot, and loads of ideas. But we lack the motivation to just start writing it.

Something puts us off - feeling we're not prepared enough or that we don't know how to start. I don't know if I'll participate in NaNoWriMo again but what I do know is it's taught me the importance of getting it down. There is no ideal time to start or right way to go about it. It's about just going for it and I'm happy to say that I did. As a result I finished a novel in just twenty-five days and I have to say, that feels like something to be proud of.


  1. Well done! I have never been brave enough to tackle NaNoWriMo

  2. Yes, that is pretty impressive. Managing a 2 hour commute is equally impressive from my perspective, though.
    I hope to go for NaNoWriMo next year (even though I said that about 2012)...


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