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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to learn that almost everybody wants to be a writer. Writing is a shared passion the world over, with absolutely everybody thinking they will be the one to write the next bestseller; so that they can live the dream and spend their days at home, drinking coffee and typing furiously at their computer. No 9am start, no boss, no bother.
Well, whilst it’s certainly admirable to want to share a story with the world, so many of us lack the motivation to actually sit down and put pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard, as the modern way seems to be (speaking of which, sometimes I wake up in the night screaming at the idea of people actually handwriting thousands of words). National Novel Writing month is an attempt to break that pattern.
The point of National Novel Writing Month is to spend an entire 30 days writing your novel. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, it doesn’t matter if it’s grammatically correct, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never written a story in your life. As long as you have an idea, a computer, and an hour to commit to the cause, you can get involved. The aim is to break down your novel into manageable chunks of writing time, I think the goal is something like 250 words a day. 250 words is nothing right? I probably type that much three times over each and every day in Facebook messages, texts and emails. I would say 250 words is around two decent-sized paragraphs, which definitely seems achievable.
‘But Rachel’, I hear you ask. ‘I want to write a novel but I simply have far too much coursework/studying/dissertation to do!’ Whilst I’ve never actually completed a National Novel Writing Month myself (don’t judge me, this is only the second year I’ve enrolled), if you’re serious about the story you’ve had swimming around in your brain for goodness knows how long, I’m sure you will manage to find the time. Get up an hour earlier, stay up an hour later, or cut into your television time. I’ve heard a rumour that there’s 24 whole hours in a day.
Another great thing about National Novel Writing Month is the community of people that get involved. They actually have support groups established all over the UK, our closest ones being the Lancaster/Cumbria group or the Manchester group. Basically, rather than sitting on your own for 30 days cursing at your computer screen and thinking that you’ve genuinely forgotten how to form words, you can go along and meet up with a like-minded bunch of individuals who will happily listen to you complain about NaNoWriMo, and empathise. So really, it’s an opportunity to make friends.
I definitely plan to give it a go this year, if only for the sweet, sweet knowledge that by the end of the month, I might actually have a written novel to work with and edit, rather than scraps of paper covered in scribble thoughts and ideas for stories. If any of you decide to join me on my quest, give me a shout. Maybe we can form a Lancaster University support group and cry over salted caramel mochas.