For the first time in my writing journey, I decided to take part in the NaNoWriMo challenge - to write 50,000 words during the month of November. A mammoth task, and not for the faint-hearted.
I've been trying to finish my third novel, and had been stuck on 40,000 words for months. This seemed like a good opportunity to unstick myself. Publicly declaring word counts and writing along with other authors was an interesting idea. Maybe sharing the journey would press me to get on with it.
It started well. For the first four days, my word count was higher than the average needed to complete the 50k in time. However, like the vast majority of others in the challenge, my numbers started to slow before the end of the first week, missing days here and there and sometimes even fiddling with passages already written just to get my word count up.
There is only a week to go. How am I doing? I'm around 18.000 words down and far too many to go to complete the required total in time. Pretty much the same as a lot of my new 'friends' on the website. Realistically I'll only be able to reach half the goal by the end of the month.
Has it been a failure, then? If it's just about word count, then yes. There's no way I'm going to reach 50,000 words. BUT would I have written 18,000 words without joining the challenge? Probably not. I'm a professional procastinator. I'd got stuck in the middle of my new novel and had no-one to push start me again. As it is, the novel is more than half written and I've got renewed energy to carry on.
Verdict: It's not just a numbers game. Writing 50,000 in a month - good, useful words - is amazing, but the best thing about NaNoWriMo is that it gives writers a reason to pick up their pens, switch on their laptops, and just get writing. At the end of November, rather than counting the words, use the kick start to keep writing for the other eleven months of the year.
I'll be joining up again next year. Why not try it yourself?