In recent weeks, there has been something of a radio silence on my blog. While I wish I could blame the influx of festive invites and social sojourns, my lack of blogging is due, in entirety, to my partaking in this year’s NanoWrimo. To those who haven’t heard of NanoWrimo it is thus: the challenge to write 50,000 words of your novel in the month of November. The challenge began in San Francisco in 1999 where 21 would-be novelists got together to write; in 2011 251,618 writers took part with 36,843 crossing the 50k finish line within the month.
I had never previously heard of NanoWrimo until I was told about it by a friend I met on the Arvon Writing Course I recently completed. We discussed signing up to it, and because I was already fairly booked up through most of November I approached the challenge with a somewhat laid-back approach, hoping that I might make it to around 20k words.
Partaking in NanoWrimo has been, without question, the biggest challenge I have set myself this year. While I wasn’t meeting the target of 1667 words a day that it would take to complete the 50k in time, I somehow trailed not too far behind, and within the first week I made a promise to myself that come hell or high water, I would be a NanoWrimo winner. From then on, I wrote whenever I could; first thing in the morning, last thing at night, on my lunch break, on the bus; walking to work I would jot down fragments on my phone.
When I trained for my first half marathon earlier this year, I did so over a twelve week period in which I was able to increase my time and speed over a gradual time frame. With NanoWrimo, there was no preparation, no guidelines to follow, no handy hints to hit the 50k word count, other than the most obvious: write.
Indeed, the whole point of NanoWrimo is to get into the practise of writing and to simply get words down on the page, regardless of whether they will make the final edit of your book. By forcing myself to write my novel has taken on a life of its own, and consequently the plot has veered slightly from the initial path it was travelling along.
My NanoWrimo challenge was one of the hardest things I’ve done; but also, without question, one of the most rewarding. While I won’t miss the early morning starts, the late night finishes and the horrendous bouts of writer’s block I will never forget the moment, when on November 29th my word count hit 50,046.
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