I am humming and ha-ing over the idea of signing up for NaNoWriMo this year.

Writers reading this are probably thinking “Yey, I’m not the only lunatic!”

Non-writers reading this are thinking “Is that even a word?”

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month – although really it should be International Novel Writing Month, as people from all over the world sign up for the mayhem. Er, I mean, challenge. And it does just what it says on the tin. You write a novel in a month. If you don’t believe me, look here. The basic idea is to achieve 50000 words between 1 and 30 November, for which you get a lovely badge for your blog, and an excuse to open a bottle of champagne before collapsing in a crumpled heap. You will be excused for saying something along the lines of “Why? Why would you do that to yourself? Why, Becca, WHY?” I know that refrain keeps screaming in my own head.

I heard about this last year, and was tempted to join in, but a) I was into November when I heard about it and b) I still had very little confidence in my writing. This year I have been given a huge boost by all you lovely people that I can actually string two words together, I have formed very real and strong friendships with other writers who are joining too and, unbelievably, I have a plan.

Now, 50000 words is a heck of a lot of words to write in 30 days. I think the daily word count is something like 1660 words to reach the target – achievable, but, um, challenging. But in actual fact it is a short novel, more of a novella. Or a children’s novel. Which is lucky, because that’s what I’ve got planned. So after November, there shouldn’t be too much to add to it, before I go through and rewrite that draft into something that makes sense. If you clicked on the link above, you’ll have seen that the finished 50000 words doesn’t have to be refined or edited, it is pure word count that counts and it’s up to you to do something with it afterwards. And I have been privileged to chat with people who have turned it into an actual novel, worthy of submitting to publishers. So my plan is to take the ideas I’ve had for my children’s book, use NaNoWriMo to get most of the first draft written with the peer support and encouragement that comes with working to the same goal together, and see what I can do with it afterwards.

It is going to be hard work – after all, I have two small children at home and at the minute sleep deprivation is taking its toll too. It’s also coming up to Christmas so that will have to be factored in. BUT the good news is that Daniel goes to nursery from September, so I have 2 and a half hours every morning to use. I have some evening times. I’m not even going to try and get up early – I am the most un-morning person you can think of, so it would be a waste of time and set me up badly for the day.

And if I don’t achieve the 50000 words? I’ll have made a start on my second novel. I’ll have given it a go, and that’s an achievement in itself. Nothing to lose but my sanity (and let’s face it, that wouldn’t be much of a loss) and lots to gain.