• Stephanie Koetsier

'Novel November': A Challenge For Me, From Me

Happy Halloween for yesterday, but also MERRY CHRISTMAS BECAUSE IT'S NOVEMBER 1ST!

Now that I have that necessary introduction out of the way it's onto the blog post at hand, and what November marks for me personally - and that's a writing challenge.

When it comes to writing there are two things that I could really work on - discipline and accountability.

Years ago, back when I was in high school, these two things were not as difficult for me as they are now. I was amazing at scheduling and sticking to the deadlines I had set for myself. This continued into university, as I was pretty much obsessed with the idea of achieving a First (and did).

But nowadays, I'm terrible at it. Not in my actual job, I'm not. If it's other people's deadlines I try to get things done as soon as possible. But when it's my own deadlines I let myself off with it. The magical land of 'tomorrow' is where I'll actually sit down and finally finish the first draft of my novel. Or it was.

I've been jumping in and out of my book over the course of this year, but really not as much as I could have or would have liked to. Now I know what a lot of people are saying - we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves, this year of all years. But now I'm a bit tired of making the excuses for myself - I want to write, and I want to try and get my book published, and soon.

So I've set myself a challenge, and I'm writing about it here on the blog to keep myself accountable. That challenge is 'Novel November' - which basically means I'm going to try and finish my book in the month of November.

For context, I'm currently sitting on 65, 519 words, or 181 A4 pages. In my head, I've always had the goal of reaching 200 pages for a book - but now I know that my story will require a whole lot more than 200.

So that's where I'm at just now, and where I've been at for quite a few months. I just lost the momentum, and let life and everything else take over. And I haven't prioritised my dream - which is to become a published author.

Now I'm saying 'finish' the book in November and disciplining myself and holding myself accountable etc etc - but I'm also going to be realistic. I may not 'finish' the book in November. In fact, even if I did completely finish the first draft - it's only the first draft. After that, it'll be the dreaded read over and edit, edit, edit before I even consider trying to get it published. BUT I basically just want to use November as a month of proper, hard writing and discipline, to get much closer than I have in the past few months and to get myself back into the habit of writing again. So yes, ideally I'll finish my first draft in November - but I won't actually be too hard on myself if I don't, say if there's more I want to add or bits that really don't work. Discipline and accountability within reason, we'll say instead.

So how 'Novel November' will work, on the accountability side, is that every week of the month of November, I'll write a blog post updating you all on the progress of my novel. I'll want to actually have news on that front, so it'll force me to get back into the good habits I used to have and actually discipline me into writing again. (I make writing sound soooo much fun but I swear I do love it, but I'm also that nerd that loves a schedule and a deadline). With the expected accountability will come the forced discipline, and hopefully just in time for Christmas I'll have finally written a first draft! If you want to see how I get on then make sure you look out for these 'Novel November' posts - it will hopefully be interesting!

Thanks for reading as always - hope you are all staying safe and well :)

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