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Could You Write A Novel In 30 Days?

Jack and I working on my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel.

It is possible to write a novel in 30 days, and I’m living proof. I’ve done it. Twice.

Today is the start to National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s more affectionately known “NaNoWriMo.” The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or polished, or even coherent when you’re finished, but it has to be 50,000 words.

The average mass-market novel today is well over 100,000 words, so a 50,000 word novel is a very short novel. In fact, most publisher’s submissions pages state specifically that they won’t accept manuscripts that are under 80,000 words. Still, a 50,000 word novel is a complete novel (or “novella” if you want to be technical.)

I’ve competed in the challenge four times now. Twice I failed to hit my goal, but twice I’ve actually completed a 50,000 word novel. In 2004 I managed to complete a science fiction novel entitled ‘Exodus: Europa‘ in 13 days, and 2009–despite Jack’s help, and the death of my dog Duncan–I completed an urban fantasy story called ‘Shattered.’

There really is something satisfying to know that you completed a novel in 30 days and to have your idea, your concept, realized in novel form.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, this isn’t an easy task. You have to write 1,667 words every day in November to make your novel happen. There will be days where you don’t want to write, or you hate the turn your novel took, or you have other commitments, but you still have to come home and write. It’s hard, but you can do this!

Head to the official National Novel Writing Month website and sign up. Then, get writing!

Happy NaNoWriMo!

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