Standing On The Brink – two days to go

Standing On The Brink

I have wanted to be a writer all my life. Well, except for a brief departure at the age of nine when I decided that I should be Prime Minister “because I can’t make more of a mess of it than all these other people”. For the great majority of my life, my end goal has been to write stories.

Age and experience have changed this plan along the way, but since I have little of either, it still remains in a recognisable form: become a journalist (get paid for writing stories of a different kind) , then in later life write fiction.

Now, however, I see a way of fastforwarding this process by a matter of years, and the novel-writing itself by months, at least: National Novel Writing Month. Those of you familiar with the twelve-year-old phenomenon will be wondering why I have started a blog about this in August. Those who aren’t will be bemused by the impossible-sounding task.

Write a novel in a month? Not only does it sound impossible, but it sounds arrogant. How can I accomplish, in 31 days, what regularly takes professionals years?

Well, I’m not sure I can, but since 1999, people across the world have been taking part in NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately known, and achieving that goal. 50,000 words in 31 days.

Sure, some of those people have had a lot of time on their hands, but others have been people with full-time jobs, children to look after, or both. People who have long workdays, and tiring commutes.

People, in short, who have a lot more on their plate than me.

I’m a student approaching my final year at university. I have some books to read in preparation for my course, and I’m teaching myself shorthand. I have a week’s work experience on a local paper, and I also work for my mother. I have far less on my plate than the many people who take on NaNoWriMo. Sure, I have a couple of days here and there that might prove difficult, so I am going to give myself some leeway. But on a general, day-to-day basis, I should have no trouble finding the time to reach the daily target of 1,667 words a day.

If, that is, I can find anything to write about.

So, here you can follow my adventure, day by day, as it unfolds. If it unfolds.

And this, really, will be half the adventure. When tens of thousands of people try to write a novel in the traditional moment of November, they have a readymade support group: each other.

I have no such luxury. I just have this blog.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

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Author:

Zoah Hedges-Stocks is a journalist looking for opportunities in digital journalism in London. She read History at Cambridge University, where she was twice Editor-In-Chief of The Cambridge Student. She is currently writing a dreadful novel, and is keen to take on any freelance writing assignments that you might like to throw her way. Twitter: @zoah_hs

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