Writers’ block: two words that strike fear into every writer. But for the past 11 years every November a website has come to the rescue. National Novel Writing Month was founded in 1999 by US-based freelance Chris Baty and 20 other writers. Aimed simply at getting words on the page, it sets participants a target of 50,000 words written by the end of the month, and provides forums and exercises aimed at overcoming writer’s block. It has an impressive success rate: of the 165,000 participants in 2009, over 30,000 crossed the 50,000 word line at the end of November.
One of those who participated in 2008 was creative writing graduate Julia Crouch, who had hit a wall. It helped more than she expected: before Christmas the books that came out of NaNoWriMo won her a three book deal with Headline. Her début, the psychological thriller Cuckoo, is published in March. Here she explains how NaNoWriMo helped.