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It appears that we’ve become a nation of people who love a challenge, especially ones that involve charitable events, anything goes, from taking part in bike rides such as Lands End to John O’Groates, trekking in the Himalayas, skydiving, parachute jumping, triathlons, midnight walks, the list of challenges available to us are endless. The best thing is that people usually take part in these challenges to raise money for charities that are close to their hearts or even just for the sheer hell of it.

Do you enjoy a challenge and pushing the boundaries or do you tend to shy away from anything challenging? By nature I think we all like a challenge at some point during our lives, we’re not designed to stand still and become stagnant.

Not all challenges involve jumping from planes or running marathons and November brings me a fresh new challenge of my very own – the Nanowrimo Challenge. Regular readers will recall that last November I also took part in this challenge for the first time, basically it is “write a book in 30 days”.

The idea is to encourage budding authors to put pen to paper rather than talk about the book that one day we are going to write, when we have more time, more money or whatever excuses we give ourselves. Whilst most books are usually more than 50,000 words , the idea is it encourages all participants to start writing and getting into a writing habit. It is a worldwide event and various groups and forums come together to chat and give encouragement and inspiration to each other. I think it is a fantastic idea and it certainly got me writing last year completing the challenge successfully.

Like many, I lead a busy life so I find that if I write everyday it is achievable and means I only need to write 1667 words a day. I find this manageable and not so overwhelming. I know some participants prefer to write larger chunks at weekends or on certain days the key is to find what works best for each of us and then to stick to it. For me, when I write each day it also gives me thinking time in between so I can develop and create the story in my head and I usually do this when I’m walking my dog, horse riding or commuting. Last year my story took a very unexpected turn as a result of giving myself this extra thinking time.  i tend to work with a very vague plot line.

This year, I’ve dithered about what to write and finally decided to do an experimental piece of writing based on both fact and fiction in a style I’ve never tried before.  Initially I had two ideas but the one I have chosen is by far the most difficult one but I quite like a challenge and I have decided to push myself, I may well regret my decision in a few weeks’ time. It is a story that is unfolding in my mind and I feel really excited about it.

The other great thing about Nanowrimo is there is no going back and editing, you just write, then once completed at the end of November, you then have something to work with and to edit. Okay, it certainly won’t be perfect but at least I will have something to edit and develop. On completion of the 50,000 or more words at the end of November the participants become a “winner”.  Friends have asked me “what do you win?” Well actually there is no prize other than the sheer satisfaction that I have completed the challenge. To me the prize is completing the challenge that I set out to do and more importantly I will also have a manuscript that I can start developing and editing.

The key with any challenge that we set ourselves is to make it achievable, breaking things down into small bite size chunks, this method always work for me and it keeps my mind fresh, happy and enthusiastic about the task in hand. By breaking things down into baby steps we don’t find things so overwhelming and our goals can remain within our reach, after all we wouldn’t go and run a marathon without any training, it would be utter madness.

I would love to hear from you about any challenges that you set yourself and had success with, do you like challenges or do you tend to avoid them?

Wishing all my wonderful readers and Nanowrimo participants around the world a very happy and successful month.

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