November, at least in some circles, is National Novel-Writing Month. The aim as stated by the promoters is to write 50,000 words of fiction over the course of November, though this year there’s an option for writers to set their own targets. Though the initiative has been running for many years now, I only heard of it last year through one of the Singapore National Library Board’s newsletters.
Sensing that I would not quite have time to fit 50,000 words around a full-time job and various other activities for the month, and having heard that 1,000 words per day is a fairly typical aim for serious writers, I set a target of 30,000 words. I didn’t quite make even the reduced target—I ended with 26,723 words—but I had a lot of fun doing it, learned a lot about what I can achieve by committing to regular writing and turning off the “inner editor”, and ended up with the core ideas and scenes for a comic novel that is now 65,000 words long (but still a long way from complete).
For most of the time since then I didn’t think I’d sign up for another year, having gotten what I wanted out of the experience. But I had an idea for spin-off from last year’s attempt so I’ve decided to follow up on it as my Novel-Writing Month for 2019. I’ve again set a target of 30,000 words for the month. I don’t expect to end up with a standalone piece of work out of it, but I hope it will serve as a writing exercise and as a way of filling out the background to my novel from last year.
My other writing projects are in a state where I can put them away for the month, to be re-visited with fresh eyes come December (which will likely be my Novel-Editing Month). I’ll continue to write this blog, though most likely at a reduced rate. Last year I didn’t quite make it due to be complacent about catching up for days on which I didn’t write enough and being hit by a lot of work towards the end of November. But knowing the mistakes I made last time, and no longer working full-time, I ought to have no excuses.