Then Along Came November

Then, along came November and NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, an international writing effort is launched at The challenge is to write a novel in thirty days. That’s quite a challenge indeed, and it’s amplified by two additional criteria: the novel has to be brand new, written from scratch, and it must contain at least 50,000 words.

Yikes! Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it is. It translates into about 200 typed, double-spaced pages. To meet the challenge, one would have to write just shy of 1,700 words per day. That’s about seven pages per day. Breaking it down like that made it seem less formidable, so I decided to accept the challenge. Yeah, I can write seven pages per day, except there was one little complication. It was already November 11 when I first found out about NaNoWriMo. That left only nineteen days. I would have to write eleven pages per day.
That’s quite a bit more. But what the heck? Even if I didn’t succeed in completing 50,000 words in nineteen days, I’d still have a decent start on a novel that might not otherwise see the light of day. I forged ahead, and a full day before the deadline I uploaded my as-yet-untitled novel to the official NaNoWriMo word counter application. I had written almost 55,000 words and had learned quite a bit about myself and what works for me and my writing process. I realized that I needed to write something every day, even if it’s just a paragraph. This helped me get past writer’s block. I also learned how to avoid procrastinating, even when I didn’t want to write, and I was able to block out time for writing every day.

When I told friends and family about my accomplishment, they were very happy for me. I received compliments, such as, “You did it,” or “You’re done,” and “When can we read it?” Yes, I did it, but I wasn’t even close to being done. And in no way was the book ready for anyone but me to read, because when you write a novel, typing “the end” is just the beginning.

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