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25 Days gone      39,700 words written      5 days remaining

Writing in NaNoWriMo is an interesting experience. I’m usually a pedantic, painfully precise writer who can take hours to produce a page. That just won’t cut it in the National Novel Writing Challenge, where the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days (or 1667 words / day). The only way I can find to do this is to turn off the internal editor, that voice in your head that constantly says ‘fix that’, ‘that’s not right’, ‘that doesn’t make sense’.

This year, I entered NaNoWriMo in an attempt to kickstart myself back into writing. There’s been a lot of good reasons for procrastinating as of late, however, it’s still procrastinating and the only thing ever produced by someone sitting around is hot air. So what better way to restart the writing engine than to be thrown into the fire.

Of course, any writer partaking in NaNoWriMo who’s worthy of the moniker has to realize that what you produce during this period will have to be heavily edited. But if you succeed, the important thing is that – YOU’VE WRITTEN HALF A NOVEL IN ONE MONTH! That’s a significant achievement. It make take you months more to finish and revise it, but the experience is irreplaceable.

Admittedly, it’s taken me about half the month before the engine began revving and the internal editor’s voice dulled to a barely audible whisper. But I have finally reached that point and I’m on schedule to finish November 30 (yes! down to the wire). Finishing, however, is mostly symbolic – I’ve taken on the challenge and come out the other side successful. More important is that I feel I’ve truly and properly kickstarted myself back into the writing enthusiasm I had when I started ten years ago.

So, it may not be for everyone, and there are other ways of developing your writing habits (thewritepractice.com/level-up-writing-habit/ is one that sounds promising), however, if you are the kind of person who rises to a challenge, then I heartily recommend NaNoWriMo – as long as you enter with the right spirit. What you produce could very well be the backbone of a great story. Just remember, however, that it won’t read like that on November 30.

Happy Writing.