50,000 words or more in a month. That’s the challenge set by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Leave the editing to December, they say. For November, just concentrate on getting out the words. So many per day. Every day.

Sound advice. The sort of advice I give people myself.

Why would a writer bother with this initiative if they’ve already managed to complete many a book without it? If I fail to get a – te dah! – NaNoWriMo Winner!’s badge at by the end of the month by not meeting my target, nobody is going to care, not really. No more than they would if I was just plugging away myself as I always have in the past.

NaNoWriMo is based on external motivations: tricks and titivations, web badges and widgets. While the motivation for the kind of fiction I write is internal.

But even the most experienced writer is beset by doubt, chief of which is: does the world really need another novel? When embarking on a tough piece of work – and writing a novel is always challenging, always draws on reserves you didn’t know you had – we need any tool we can stash in our toolbox. NaNoWriMo provides plenty of them.

Chief for me is the awareness of all the writers, doing the same thing, at the same time. It thrills me to think of hundreds of thousands of storytellers all over the world simultaneously striking out while cheering each other on.

I think I’m getting hooked on the camaraderie of indie authors since founding ALLi, having experienced firsthand the caring, resourceful, hardworking and generous approach of the self-publishing community. NaNoWriMo arises from that same spirit of collaboration and mutual encouragement and advice.

Turns out writing doesn’t have to be lonely. Who knew?

So I’m in.

I’m not starting this book from scratch, much is already well-drafted but I’ll be adding 50,000 words to what I already have and if all goes well, NaNoWriMo might just deliver Two Songs to you in time for Christmas. Or at any rate, not too long after.

Wish me luck.

Oh and 2000 words a day.

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