Once again, November is almost upon us, and with it comes National Novel Writing Month. For thirty days in November, anyone and his cousin Rory can be a novelist. How does it work? Easy! Just start banging on a keyboard after midnight on November 1st, and keep typing until you reach 50,000 bananas — er — words.

For this year’s NaNoWriMo, rather than start on a new project, I’ve decided to work on a second draft of last year’s so-called novel. Why? Even though it kinda violates the guidelines of the competition, at heart I think the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to bring people together and provide encouragement.

Some people need the extra encouragement to get started. (I know I needed the encouragement that first year.) Nowadays, though, I find it easy to start a new writing project — but much more difficult to finish it.

So this year, why not use the opportunity to try to finish something that I’ve started? It may not quite follow the rules, but I still think it fits the spirit of the competition.

Is anyone else using NaNoWriMo to rewrite a novel you previously worked on? I’d like to hear about it.

Novel 0.1 — Why Can’t I Finish?

When I first found NaNoWriMo back in 2004, I thought it was an interesting idea. Getting started is the hardest part of most projects, so, for anyone who keeps thinking about writing a novel someday, make that someday the month of November.

NaNoWriMo is an exercise in collective human suffering. For thirty days of November, just sit down and write. Write at least 50,000 words to finish a first draft. Suffer along with countless other would-be novelists. Share your writers block woes, listen to the sorrows of others, and benefit from the encouragement of the group.

In 2004 I easily met the 50,000 word goal. “This is great,” I thought, but I never finished that novel. Nor did I finish one the next year, or the year after. In fact, every subsequent year, I failed to even come close to the 50,000 word goal.

Skip ahead to 2013. For the first time in almost a decade, I sat down during the month of November and wrote. By November 30th, I had a grand total of 50,138 words, putting me just past the goal. A winner again, right?
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