Sutton Writers member Rosie O’Carroll writes about her experience with National Novel Writing Month in November

Write a novel in a month – are you crazy?! Anyone who is currently in the midst of a novel will know it can take months, or in some cases years, to feel brave enough to show someone your fledgling draft –  let alone say ‘my work here is done’. NaNoWriMo laughs in the face of such fears and says ‘You’ve got the whole of November to write 50,000 – who’s up for the challenge?’

So this November I stuck my hand up, or rather signed up on the website www.nanowrimo.org. The website lets you track how many words you write a day which is translated into a handy graph showing your progress. As you hit various writing milestones, say 2000 words, you are awarded a fun virtual badge. Each day, you can see the date when you are likely to reach your target and you can also record how and where you write. You can use NaNoWriMo to start a new piece of writing, or work on an existing piece. It’s up to you.

Although the website was rather clunky to use and I didn’t embrace all of NaNoWrimo’s features (such as the local meetups), I did find it motivating. I enjoyed seeing my progress, especially as recording my word count on consecutive days added up to a writing streak. I was going great guns until a family drama derailed my progress. After that, I found myself so behind on my target I lost momentum. I had a final spurt after attending a ‘Last Tuesday’ writing session in Sutton, but I still fell short by a woeful 33,000. I think this was the downside – in order to catch up, my daily writing target climbed so high it felt like I’d need to scale Everest to reach it.

However, despite these failings, I did have a good start to a new novel which I think I will progress. It definitely encouraged me to write every day and it’s my New Year’s resolution to continue. I will certainly try NaNoWriMo again in the future.

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