By now it will be all over.
The winners will have won, the losers … well, they’ll have won too.
I don’t believe there are any losers in NaNoWriMo. Everyone who enters National Novel Writing Month is a winner. They have all taken the plunge. They have decided to do something that many people talk about, even more people think about, but not so many actually do. They will have committed to writing a novel.
The idea of writing a novel in a month may seem a bit far fetched, and, in actuality, it would be. To write a completed, edited and polished novel, proofread and publishable in one month, is a bit far-fetched. Hats off to anyone who manages to do that!
But the idea of writing 50,000 words of a novel is not far-fetched. It has been done. It has been accomplished by hundreds of thousands of writers every year since NaNoWriMo began 25 years ago, in 1991.
Some NaNoWriMo facts (partially taken from the NaNo site):
To be a NaNo winner, the entrants have to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.
The reason I say that even those who don’t achieve that goal are winners is because, unless they give up before they start, they will probably have written more words in the month than they usually do, and they will have gone with the flow.
In my experience, when you are up against a deadline like that, you have to turn the inner critic off, that little voice in the back of your head that says things like, ‘This is rubbish. No-one is going to want to read such a load of drivel.’ You have to give yourself permission to write badly, to get the story out of your imagination and onto the page just as it comes to you.
And that’s true even if you have plotted meticulously. Your story plan is unlikely to be 50,000 words long, so you are going to have to flesh it out. You are going to have to write, and write, and write without taking too long to choose the perfect word, the perfect phrase. That will come later. That will happen in the editing process, the next draft. During NaNoWriMo, you just need to get that all-important first draft written, you have to go with the flow.
Someone famously said, ‘You can’t edit a blank page.’ I have said it so often to other new writers that I feel like it’s my quote, but it’s not. I read it somewhere. So, if you’re out there, reading this post and you coined the phrase, kudos to you. It’s such a concise way of telling all would-be authors, ‘Get that first draft written, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent. Just go with the flow.’
Words are not meant to stand alone, they are designed to be used in sentences, in paragraphs, in speeches, in conversations, in stories. They naturally flow. They flow.
If you want to get that novel written. Just let them.
Just go with the flow.
In my experience, that is exactly what NaNoWriMo pushes you to do.
So, November is over.
The winners have won, the losers … have won too.
This November may be over, but there’s always next year. But you don’t have to wait till then. There’s always http://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in
Follow the link and find your way to writing that great novel you have in mind in the first half of next year.
Or pick a month, any month. Commit to writing 50,000 words of the first draft of your new novel. Commit to yourself. Commit to others. Tell your friends, your spouse, your parents, your Auntie Beanie. Tell them you’re doing it, that you want to be held accountable for doing it. You want someone to ask you every day what your word count is.
Just have a go. Let the words flow.
You can always write another novel next November, next NaNoWriMo.
You just have to …
About Christine Campbell
Christine Campbell lives in a small village outside of Edinburgh with her husband, and whatever assortment of children and grandchildren happen to be visiting at the time.
When she has a moment of peace, and is not distracted by the varied wildlife currently taking up residence in her garden, Christine writes novels or for her blog at
You can also find her onFacebook
She is currently working on the third instalment in 'The Reluctant Detective' series, the follow up to 'Searching for Summer' and 'Traces of Red'. You can find these and her previous works, in paperback and ebook, on Amazon.
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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