Today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, which brings writers around the world together with one goal – to write a novel in 30 days.
Now in its 19th year, NaNoWriMo has become an internet phenomenon.
Last November, 384,126 writers took part from six continents. And more than 34,000 of the participants met the target of writing 50,000 words in a month.
This year, organisers are expecting more than 400,000 participants.
If you’re a novelist, I urge you to join them.
Because sometimes caffeine and a good idea aren’t enough.
Writing is a gruelling profession. It’s also a solitary one, but that doesn’t mean that community can’t help.
By officially signing up to NaNoWriMo (which is free), you can access mentoring groups, pep talks from established writers, achievement badges and structured deadlines to help you meet your word counts throughout the month.
Everything is designed to help you unleash your potential, by applying the best kind of pressure.
While writing 50,000 words in a month is achieveable, chances are those won’t be your best words. And that’s okay.
The idea behind NaNoWriMo is to produce something, anything. Because a terrible first draft is better than no draft at all.
Once you’ve got that out of your system, the real work begins – editing and revising.
And if it doesn’t. If you wake up on the morning of December 1st and realise that you hate your efforts, that’s okay too.
Because you achieved something momentous, and if you have the discipline and mental stamina to write a book in a month then imagine what else you can do.
To sign up to NaNoWriMo, visit the organisation’s website and register your details. All you need is a username and email address.
Once registered, you can enter your novel’s title, synopsis and an excerpt.
This creates your own novel page where you can update the word count as you write it.
Writers who reach the 50,000 word goal can win goodies donated by sponsors.
This year’s theme is ‘superpowered noveling’.