30 day challenge: write a novel?!?

(My 30 day challenge for October was to get my finances in order. They’re in pretty good shape at this point, although I still have 6-7 things I want to do. If I get free time, I’ll blog about finances more. But in the mean time, it’s time for a new challenge!)

For November, I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo.” The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Does it sound like too much to do? Well, ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen? The worst is that you write a little bit and then don’t finish. That’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s better than not writing anything.

Okay, maybe that’s not the worst thing that could happen. The worst would be if you spent time writing, then you enjoyed it so much that you got really into it. You were so into it that you started thinking about your novel all the time, even when driving, and suddenly WHAM you weren’t paying attention and you ran someone over. But not just anyone–you happened to run over a beautiful Nobel prize-winning physicist, the only person in the world who could figure a way to stop the meteor hurtling toward the Earth from outside our solar system. A month later, BOOM: meteor meets world, and all intelligent life in the solar system is extinguished. That’s probably the worst that could happen. But that’s not very likely, so I wouldn’t let that keep you from trying to write a novel.

Why not try to write a novel yourself? As I’ve been saying about these experiments: the 30 days will pass either way. So why not try something new and different, so that you remember the month instead of it just flying by?

18 Responses to 30 day challenge: write a novel?!? (Leave a comment)

  1. Writing while driving? Ha, I don’t think so. I’ve heard that it is possible to READ while driving, but even that would be highly irresponsible, especially with someone else in the car.

  2. And to top it off, when that meteor hits and destroys all life, you just wasted your last 30 days writing a novel that no one will read anyway. Now that sucks!

  3. I’m a little surprised you didn’t plug Google cars that drive themselves. πŸ™‚ Then we could all write/blog/Twitter without imperiling any beautiful Nobel prize-winning physicists.

  4. Excellent Matt, write your novel!
    I write my novel in a few days. It’s good πŸ˜‰

  5. “My time as a ninja” by Matt Cutts

    I’d buy it.

  6. Hoping you write a lessons learned post on this, especially because you are a fellow engineer (well, I’m a retired one, but will always think like one).

    I’m currently reading War of Art and Bird By Bird as prep for an adventure in writing. A friend of 30 years just learned he has no more than 4 weeks left (advanced liver cancer). It makes the reality of mortality very clear to me (plus my wife dying when she was only 53). I’d like to be able to write well enough to convince others that life really is terribly short, to motivate them to live life thoughtfully and fully. But, I fear I’ll write like the engineer I am, with no passion and punch.

    Good luck.

  7. Matt.

    What make you think we are the only intelligent life in this solar system….?

    That’s a bit of a broad statement to make. Just imagine if other lifeforms were reading your blog right now, I’m sure they would be quite upset at such a statement.


  8. Excellent Matt, write your novel!
    I write my novel in a few days. It’s good πŸ˜‰

  9. Matt:

    Great challenge! I was thinking of that for a new year’s res. Mine would be to write one page per day for 365 days.

  10. I started writing this morning as well!

    Good luck and see you next month with that novel πŸ˜‰

  11. Well if it’s not going well, you can always outsource the project…

  12. Where in the world did they come up with that name – nanowrimo? I ignored the term for almost a year now just on the basis of sounding so ridiculous!

    I’m all into the ridiculousness of it challenge though. Usually I write a 50,000 word book in about 2 weeks. I’m writing about subjects I know, and it just kind of spills out. Sure it takes another 2 weeks to edit it – but, I think I can pull this off.

    If your novel turns out OK you can self-publish at Amazon’s Kindle Store easily. Google “DTP Kindle” and you’ll find it.


  13. Isn’t it easier to run a crawler and generate a novel as a bunch of snippets, apply spam filtering and order it by logical order and group it in chapters 10 snippets per chapter. Also you can illustrate it with crawled images from time to time to brake monotony. You can use tens or even hundreds of other novels and make snippets user friendly so they do not even have to read other novels at all… Of course at the heading of each page and from the right margin you can put paid contextual ads.

  14. “Fad in – Exterior, Night – A dark desolate prerie. A lone cowboy sits on a sturdy horse gazing up at the moon. Suddenly a flash of light appears in the sky and a burning meteor plummets to the earth” – S06E24 of Two and a Half Men

    I think your theory of the worst case scenario has proven that you have much fantasy – maybe even topic to write about?

  15. I see you’ve gone into novel writing mode already…

  16. I’ve enjoyed writing when I was younger but as an adult now, it’s quite hard to find time to be honest. I commute 40 minutes to work each day, I work 40 hrs a week, and by the time I get home I only have energy to basically surf online for an hour, eat and then sleep. I don’t even have time to work on my side business (internet, seo, affiliate marketing). No time to exercise let alone write a novel. I greatly respect anyone who can find the energy to pursue such a grand endeavor after working 40 hrs a day out of the house.

  17. NaNoWriMo’s a beauty mate! I’m actually involved in a “side challenge” as well with a few mates in the US (one of whom is actually published, and upped the ante to 80,000 words). What’s the worst thing that can happen there? 8 dudes from around the world all call you a “pussy”. Heh.

    Nothing motivates like others involved in the same task. I’m 6,504 words in and having an absolute blast. I’ve got a mate who’s almost published (working with an agent) and he’s cranking out his second novel in this challenge. THAT’s pretty cool.

    So good onya, hope you’re having an awesome time too buddy! See you at the end of it…

  18. I lovvved your TED talk on this issue, Matt! You are absolutely correct. Time is going to pass anyway, regardless of whether you like it or not. The real challenge of whole life, really, is to enjoy the heck out of moments that life has gifted you – as much as possible.

    Woop! It begins in 19 days. I’m not going to write a novel this year; I’m rather going to write a non-fiction book on some of the topics I love. Researching is gonna be fun.

    Thanks for inspiring!