NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s an initiative designed to turn the month of November into a month-long write-fest for current or would-be novelists. The idea is that you set yourself the task of writing 50 thousand words in November and bingo, you’ve got yourself a novel – or at least a first draft of a novel.
I did the bulk of my thesis writing in a fairly short amount of time. Not a month, I hasten to add, but I did embark on some intensive writing (as well as intensive Nutella-eating). Currently, I’m doing a Post-Doc in the US and part of why I’m here is so I can finish my first book. So after hearing about NaNoWriMo a colleague and I started wondering whether AcBoWriMo might be possible.
That’s right, we are here-by declaring November the first Academic Book Writing Month or AcBoWriMo Beta/0.1 or something. We are going to wear comfy clothes, drink a lot of coffee, probably nap in our offices at strange hours and see how close we can get to writing 50 thousand words in one month. I know, it’s totally insane, there can surely only be a handful of academics who can actually turn out decent material in such a short space of time. There are also a lot of differences between writing novels and academic books, but aren’t you just a little bit curious to know how much of a kick-start a dedicated writing month could give your book?
I should emphasize that this is very much a test. I, personally, have no idea if I can even come close to the amount of reading and writing required to complete even 20 thousand words in one month, but let’s just think of it as an academic version of an extreme sport.
There’ll be a hashtag for Twitter where anyone interested in participating – or indeed watching from afar – can talk about progress and share tips and ideas for speed reading/writing (#acbowrimo). And we’re also hoping there might be a write-in in our department or someone’s apartment where we gather people together for mutual support and literally write the night away. Maybe you fancy staging one too somewhere and Skyping us for solidarity? Awww, it’ll be just like we’re students all over again – although with less alcohol in our systems.
So it would be great to know what you think about the idea. Please use this blog post to put your name down if you’d like to participate in this beta test phase of AcBoWriMo as this act alone should shame you into actually doing some work. And then, if you’re on Twitter, keep in touch with us using the tag or tweet us @PhD2Published. Oh, and it needn’t be a book you’re working on, thesis and article writers are all welcome too!