Are you one of those people who has a novel inside them but never put it on paper / screen? Then National Novel Writing Month, or ‘NaNoWriMo’ / ‘NaNo’ as it is better known, could just be the thing for you.

Pre-2008 I’d heard many authors say they write a novel a year. I didn’t want to spend a year on one story (I’m a short story writer and used to write a story a day for this blog’s 5PM Fiction slot) so when I heard that I could write one in a month I couldn’t wait to get started. For details on my NaNoWriMo experiences (up to July 2011) take a look at Tia Bach’s website. also has an interesting article on NaNo.

At least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November… sound tough? It’s 1,667 words a day. Still daunting? Don’t worry, the joy of NaNoWriMo is that if you slip behind on a weekday because the day job gets in the way then you have the weekends to catch up… just don’t do what I did last year and write 3,000 words on the first day then have 47,000 words to write in the last eight! I did it but a 21-hour day on one of those is not something I really want to repeat.

The rules: Simple, you can plan as much as you like before midnight on 1st November but you can’t write a word of your novel until then. Then you keep going at whatever speed you like until midnight 31st November.

My word counts were: 53,000 in November 2008, 117,540 words in Nov 2009 (in 29 days!), 51,300 words November 2010 and then I scraped through the 50,000 barrier (with less than an hour to spare) in 2011 and a few hours spare in 2012.

My sixth novel, a very dark serial killer crime novel, just scraped through with 51,555 words in the 30 days, although I did have three days where I wrote nothing, and two days where I wrote <100 words. My best day was Nov 30th where I wrote 8,409 to catch up, shame there wasn’t a 31st!).

2013 camp winnerI did my first Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2013 (the second in the serial killer trilogy) for which I wrote 50,115 despite the target only being 10,000 words!

2013-Winner-Square-ButtonI was then going to write the third of the serial killer trilogy but didn’t have time (because I was so busy client editing) to re-read the first two, so I wrote about a talking dog with attitude for NaNoWriMo, Nov 2013, a novel which started life as a 5PM Fiction short story. Having written the first 1,690 words on day 15, I added another 1,885 on day 19 then wrote nothing until day 25 when I really got going, writing an average of 10,000 words a day. I finally finished with 50,065 words at 11.10pm (UK time) on Saturday 30th November, then had a very long sleep.

Although I didn’t make the 50,000 words, I did go over the 1,000 word minimum for Camp NaNo 2014 with 22,323 words of a standalone crime novel called ‘One for the Road’ for Camp NaNoWriMo and although I enjoyed it, I struggled to have the time to write because of my teaching and client editing.

Camp NaNoWriMo is on again July 2014 but I won’t be doing it as I want to get my online courses up and running which I had been planning to do in March!

The official NaNo websites are and where you can register (for free, they rely on donations) at any time. I’m on there as Morgen Bailey so if you sign up, come find me. 🙂

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