#NaNoWriMo: on writing, not just talking about writing

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareYou’ve heard the old adage – those who can, do; those who can’t, teach. Thankfully, I don’t subscribe to George Bernard Shaw’s famous words.

I’ve been writing about novels and editing words written by other people for several years. I’ve polished prose, blogged on books and vetoed verses. But now it’s time to take off my editorial hat, to put my money where my mouth is, to have some skin in the game. Because I don’t just like writing about books. I like writing books.

A good friend of mine mentioned #NaNoWriMo2015 (National Novel Writing Month) to me, knowing I’ve been working on a bit of fiction for some time. But I’ve been struggling to find the confidence to take it any further.

No longer! November is National Novel Writing Month, and I’m officially dipping my pen in. The initiative essentially asks participants to commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November. You connect with other participants, earn badges and are provided with inspiration, pep talks and a global support network of other writers. I don’t for a moment expect this to lead to swift publication and international writerly stardom. I don’t even need to produce a full 50,000 words, given that I’m actually writing a novella. But I will harness the motivation and support provided by #NaNoWriMo to complete something I’ve devoted a lot of love, angst and stress to. And if nothing else, I will gain insight into a process I normally only experience from the other side. It might even make me a better editor.

As-yet-untitled, here is a short blurb about the novella:


July, 1953, London: A young woman is found strangled on Peckham Rye Common. The young literary agent who rejected her manuscript two days prior publishes the work under his own name.

1998, Edinburgh: Lewis Carson is now a critically acclaimed novelist. Reflecting on the events that led to the theft of the work that brought him success, the question arises as to whether that theft was an act of callous opportunism, or the calculated spoils of the murder which precipitated it.


A title eludes me. I worry that the 30,000 words I plan on is too little. I will write and re-write the same section 23 times before I revert to the original draft. If anyone else cares to join #NaNoWriMo and expose themselves to my flustered progress, give me a shout. I think I’m going to need all the moral support and hand-holding you can muster.

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