It’s time to meet two strange words. First up, NaNoWriMo, which begins in just 31 days time. What is it? NaNoWriMo is the shortened form of National Novel Writing Month, although really that should be International Novel Writing Month as it’s open to everyone. The aim of the catchily named event is to produce a 50,000 word novel during November, which works out at 1,667 words a day. It’s a tall order, but the thrust is to simply get people to sit down and write. Write rubbish if necessary, but write! It will get you into good habits for the future.

Last year, everyone who completed the challenge got a free proof copy of their book from Amazon’s Createspace. I don’t know if the same is planned for this year, but even the possibility would certainly be an incentive.

I’ve signed up. I’ve joined 1831 other France-based WriMos. I might use the event to get my long-planned YA fantasy novel written, or maybe the upbeat knitting mystery which is crashing around in my brain at the moment. Decisions, decision!

So on to ‘Blovel’, a combo of Blog and Novel. This is a great invention by Stu Noss! Check out his site here. Stu is serialising his novel Life on the Suburban Fringe on his blog. What a great idea. Stu is following in famous footsteps. Charles Dickens’ novels came out in serialised form originally, and he hasn’t done so badly over the years has he? Stu’s a talented writer and I’m sure his Blovel idea will inspire a lot more to appear.

There are so many time-related writing ‘challenges’ out there – 30 days to better blogging, write a novel in 28 days, 6 days to write an ebook, and so on. Here’s another – Ruth Barringham’s 12-month Writing Challenge. The subtitle is: One Whole Year of Writing Consistently and Earning Over 36,000 Dollars. The author reckons you should be looking at earning 100 dollars a day. (I can’t get the dollar symbol on my European International Keyboard I’m afraid so have to keep writing it out.)

Now, I was sceptical about this book, since I recently invested in The Wealthy Writer’s Guide by this author and Nick Daws, and I have to say that so far I am very disappointed in it. I wasn’t expecting to make the 100,000 dollars it claims you can, but I did anticipate more practical advice. However, I’m continuing to work through it in the hope I will get something more useful out of it.

But this seems a different proposition altogether. From the start there’s no beating around the bush. To earn money from writing, well, you have to write. There’s no magic wand. The author’s words are: “But you have to write. And you have keep on writing.” (Did you spot the author’s error – there’s always something gets through in every script.) This is reinforced by the observation that you will never FIND time to write, you have to MAKE time to write. That is so true.

The field is narrowed to non-fiction writing that will be published on the Internet. The whole challenge is designed to make you rethink how you write. By the end of it, the author predicts you’ll be writing every day, enjoying it and making money from it.

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It emerges clearly that you need to be methodical and keep good records of what you’re writing and sending where. A large diary is essential, and this is something I’m going to implement at once. You can jot down when to add or remove things from your website, politely chase up a submission, renew your domain name – that kind of thing. An organised writing space is important too, something I’ve found to be true as well.

You can start the challenge any time you like, not necessarily 1st of January. But whenever you do, please, the author begs, see it through. Don’t wimp out after a few weeks. And it’s not going to be easy. It is a challenge after all. The first month’s task is to make 30 submissions in 30 days. See? That’s not a walk in the park. But the author offers lots of practical advice and points you in the direction of sites with info about writers’ markets. In this recycling era, it’s good to know you can recycle and reuse articles too. Give them a different angle and the same material can be repackaged a number of ways for different markets.

Other months are devoted to creating your own website, writing an ebook, writing articles, publishing on Amazon, guest-blogging and writing for newsletters, to give a few examples.

There’s a lot of inspiration and information in this book. This could be one that really produces results, so long as you’re prepared to devote a year to concentrating on your writing and putting the necessary time into it.

The accompnaying website is here.

Excerpt of the challenge available here