So, for a lot of writers out there, November can be a pretty big month, and that’s because of this NaNoWriMo thing. For those of you who might not know, this is an event that takes place every year where authors try to write 50,000 words in one month. This can be in the form of poetry, a novel, a script, just anything, the aim is to write 50,000 words from November 1st to November 30th. They have other projects during other months, but I would argue this is their most famous, and very well-known novels have been traditionally published through this method.
I, unofficially, took part for the first time three years ago, setting myself a goal of 50,000 words just like everyone else but updating it in private. At this point, I was at university and I had plenty of spare time, and this spare time allowed me to write 80,000 words, roughly. I was amazed, and so I began to set myself targets, just in private, for the entire year.
Eventually, however, it became almost an obsessive habit. I’m one of those people who, if I set myself a target and I don’t finish it early, I become stressed. For multiple months, I set myself a target of 50,000 words, but unless I reached that target days in advance, I would become overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. Then, when I was particularly busy with essays and travelling, I would set myself smaller goals, and when I wasn’t able to reach them, I felt like a complete failure.
So, after the year was up, I decided to no longer set myself targets, and I didn’t partake in NaNoWriMo again, even unofficially. I also spent some time working on that feeling of failure and trying to set myself reachable goals because I realised it was a problem and that I couldn’t go through life aiming for unattainable targets and becoming stressed if I don’t reach those targets well in advanced.
This year, things are different. Now, because I want to be an author and I have fully acknowledged that desire and path, there isn’t a more perfect time to partake in it again. And, this time, I’m going to partake officially. I’ve set up an account that you can check out here and I will be writing alongside thousands of others.
If you’re following along with this blog, you’ll know I have two projects at the moment. Project #2 is a series, and that first book is well into draft three. At this moment in time, large sections of that book don’t need to be written, certainly not 50,000 words. For Project #1, the book is out of the first draft, and whilst there are sizeable portions that need to be written, it’s in a complicated state where some chapters are mostly written and some aren’t, and I’m also doing a structural and style overhaul that means I’m going to be switching between writing and editing. Since I intend to write the full 50,000 words in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, these projects aren’t in the correct state for that.
Therefore, here I am to introduce Project #3. This isn’t a brand new project, it’s something I have had planned but intended to get back to after Project #1. But after really thinking about it, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I want to write something from scratch, start a new project. I have a working title, but I’m not quite ready to share it yet, so, instead, I will be referring to it either as Project #3 or by its initialism, ‘OFBB’. Catchy, right?
When I first thought about doing this officially, I was considering updating this blog weekly at the same time but, unlike three years ago, I’m working, which means I have a lot less spare time. Therefore, any time I do have, I want to dedicate it entirely to NaNoWriMo. Every second I have, I want to devote it to my goal of writing 50,000 words, so weekly updates aren’t quite feasible.
What this also means is that, where I would usually post here twice a month, my only post for November is going to be this one. I don’t like to break habits or schedules, but I also have to maintain a healthy balance. Being spread too thin can be exhausting and incredibly detrimental, giving you extra stress and pressures that you can buckle beneath. These blog posts are a great way to explore different ways of writing and different ideas, but ultimately, it’s the stories that have to take precedence. For this month, that means NaNoWriMo has to be my absolute priority.
On top of this, what I’m planning to do for December is, instead of having a post on the first and the fifteenth, I’m going to push them back a few days so I can make sure I offer every second to NaNoWriMo. So, I’m aiming to post my next update on Sunday the fifth of December, and then the final one of the year will be on Sunday the nineteenth. Remember what I said about creating healthy, achievable goals? I’m trying to stick to that, because it’s incredibly important to set yourself targets you can actually achieve. I know there would be no way for me to write 50,000 words as well as do a blog post on the fifteenth of November and then the first of December, and I never want to post anything that I can’t confidently say I worked on to the best of my ability and gave it the time it needed. Balance and attainable goals are what we like to maintain here on this blog.
So far, I’ve got the working title, a bare bones chapter plan that I always know is rough and never rigid, as well as themes and specific scenes mapped out. If you want to keep up to date with my progress, my NaNoWriMo profile is the place to do that. I’m super excited to get started and explore this way of writing. I have no idea where I’m going to be at the end of November, but hopefully I’ll have 50,000 words of a brand new manuscript. Good luck to anyone else who is also embarking on this journey, and I’ll see you all on the other side!