November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
For those of you who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is a writing sensation that began 20 years ago in the US.
The challenge is simple – you sign up and attempt to write 50,000 words in a month. Of course, they may not all be good words – but by the end of November you have some material to work with.
All kinds of people from first-timers to professional writers take part in the challenge.
It is a great distraction in the cold winter evenings, and you have something to show for it by the of the month.
Making Time For Nano
How do you make time in a busy schedule to write every day?
Manon (our Illustrations Editor) and myself are tackling the annual writing challenge this month.
We took the quiz on the website to find out our ideal schedule.
Unsurprisingly it categorised us as “weekend writers”, because we both work full-time.
It recommends a schedule of two 40-minute writing sessions each weekday, with six hours of writing time at the weekend. We can easily achieve the weekly writing schedule as we both commute to work.
Those long train journeys are perfect for writing!
However, we are not so sure about the weekend sessions.
I am meeting with other writers on Sunday also doing Nano, but I don’t think I’ll manage six hours!
Neither Manon or I have written plans or outlines so we are diving in with the bare bones of an idea.
We are both writing fiction with a slightly other-wordly theme.
Mine is set in Edinburgh, and one of Manon’s characters is a grandmother, but beyond that it’s a journey of exploration.
We know many of our readers are also writers, so if you are looking for inspiration, you will find plenty on the NaNoWriMo website itself, and of course, here at the “Friend”.
I am lucky enough to work next to our fiction team, and with Fiction Ed Shirley sitting behind me. There is always some kind of chat going on about this week’s stories and fiction in general, which helps.
Although my work environment inspires me, sometimes I need help to get started.
Story Prompts And Inspiration
If you are looking for story ideas, for NaNoWriMo, to write for the “People’s Friend” or just for fun, then I recommend the Story Starters.
The basis of each prompt comes from a photo Shirley has posted and she gives suggestions of what to write about.
My favourite one is of the skull named Vincent that our previous Illustrations Ed brought in. You can see the image here and read all about “Vincent”.
Shirley suggested the obvious storyline relating to this prompt is a murder mystery, but what else can you imagine? Perhaps the skull came from an ancient burial ground? Or was it used in some kind of witchcraft ritual?
Quite a fitting story prompt given that Hallowe’en has just passed.
I’ll be back next Thursday to let you know how we are getting on.
Please share your own experiences of Nano – and what your goal is for this year.
For more information on National Novel Writing Month, click here.