What is NaNoWriMo??

In a nutshell, it is the National Novel Writing Month Competition. To win, write 50,000 words of a novel between the 1st and 30th of November. What do you win? the honour of owning a completed or partially completed novel, the likes of which you never thought possible (plus a certificate and T Shirt, for those who are interested!)

Last year, I participated in my first ever NaNo entry, and won, a few days ahead of schedule, with 50,200 words or so of my debut novel, Swansong. Those frantically written fifty thousand words carried my novel from its uncertain beginning through to its shocking middle. Even though I did not return to it until my internet – less summer of 2012, the fact that I got the main bulk of the novel down within a month gacve me the drive and confidence I needed in order to actually complete it. I had not completed a full novel sized story since 2000, and often wondered whether it was possible for me to reach that goal again.

This November, I have decided to throw caution to the wind yet again, and I entered my follow up novel, Sustain the Shadow, into the competition. While I possessed little confidence for Swansong last year, I possess even less confidence this year for a story that only came to me in April this year and does not possess any of the strength that Swansong (idea spawned in 2009) had previously. However, I still went ahead with my planning and chapter guide, and true to form, wrote my first 2,000 words this morning, within about 3 hours.

Some people (they really must have ridiculous strength!) have already written far more than that. I prefer not to. Why? I don’t like to push myself too hard, and burn out my imagination before the competition has truly gotten started. If I got hell for leather too soon, I run out of fire, drive, or even ideas(!) The point I am trying to make (or making a mess of putting across!) is that NaNo might be a time limited competition, but it is not a race for one person against another! write to your own limits, and don’t burn yourself out. Everyone has their own individual strategy, and whether that involves writing heavy amounts of words per day, or spacing out your writing over the course of the month, it doesn’t matter. The point of NaNo is to give you the impetus to get that story out of your head and onto paper (or computer screen!)

throughout the month (patience and inspiration pending!) I will give as many updates on the progress of my entry, ‘Sustain the Shadow’ as I can possibly manage, providing it doesn’t kill me in the process! and to all of you, whatever your strategy, if you are taking part in NaNo as a beginner or seasoned veteran, best of luck!

~ Marion Aneira

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