> Always had a story in you but never had the time to spill your soul on paper? Now is your chance to shine as November is National Novel Writing Month.

With term-time stress mounting and the challenge of fitting a social life around work, family, and course commitments, finding time to write for pleasure has become nearly impossible. However, with the start of November as National Novel Writing Month, you have no more excuses as http://www.nanowrimo.org is offering a refuge for the plots, characters, and settings you’ve been shutting out. The structure of the site is fairly user-friendly. Once you create an account you have the freedom to type any ideas that come to your mind. You also have access to a form, similar to a diary entry, which prompts you to think about the basic outline of your story and its genre. This isn’t all. In a convention common to social networking, you can link to your friends who have joined in addition to adding ‘Writing Buddies’ from forums whom you can share ideas with. Building on the ‘Writing Buddies’ feature is the particularly thrilling notion of weekly regional writing groups; Bristol holds its meetings at The Watershed Sundays at 2pm and Thursdays  at 6pm. These allow for a more interactive engagement of text through feedback and ‘Write-In’ sessions (just bring your notebook and wait for inspiration to whirl you away).
Skimming the premise initially, I was infused with the glory of potential accomplishment – just think how amazing it would be to prove you could jot down an entire novel in a month?  And the majority of us will admit that by planning to undergo such an arduous task of producing a work stamped with your very essence, it cannot be helped that the material thoughts of fame and fortune are welcomed rather than rejected. For instance, do you have what it takes to be the next Burgess or DeFoe? Could you picture yourself in a cranberry coloured velvet couch with royalties from book and film rights pouring in from every window? Okay, maybe went a bit over the top there, but you get my gist.
Anyway, here’s the sucker punch. The deadline is Saturday 30 November and the word count you will be aiming for is 50k.
Thus, leaving me to grab the pom-poms and rally in the form of an American cheerleader: ‘YES! WE CAN DO THIS! 50 THOUSAND WORDS, 4 WEEKS, 12,500 WORDS A WEEK, 1,785 WORDS A DAY!’ ER… YES… OF COURSE WE CAN!
Alas, as the days elapsed from the 1st to the 5th with not a single word down on paper, I realised the proposed deadline of 50 thousand words may be slightly, somewhat, just a bit too ambitious. While the weight of the challenge stills remains, I chime in with the chorus of the NaNoWriMo community when I repeat ‘Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together’.

Alaina Zimmerman