Over the years, I have listened to many authors speaking on their process. It’s always interesting to hear how “the professionals” do it. I remember one author (whose name I have genuinely forgotten) who told a group of aspiring writers that during the editing process, he rewrote his completed manuscripts at least 10 times.
I thought I had misheard.
But no – he wrote, and rewrote, his whole manuscript for each novel at least 10 times.
At the time, I hadn’t published any novels, and I was keen to hear other people’s methodologies. But ten complete rewrites sounded completely bonkers to me. Surely, there was a better, more time-efficient, way?
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, comes around at the end of October each year. From a local challenge in San Francisco in 1999, with just 21 participants, it has grown to a global event, with hundreds of thousands of writers joining each year.
As you might expect, with a name like National Novel Writing Month, the idea is to write “a novel” in a single month – the 30 days of November. The actual size of the “novel” is determined as 50,000 words, which means participants need to write an average of 1,667 words per day to be successful in the challenge.
I first heard about this challenge in 2003, and it sounded like fun, so I signed up. And I “won” – the prize being a downloadable certificate and the self-satisfaction of having written a whole bunch of words in a single month.