Today is, so my diary records, the first day of December the last time I looked it was Halloween! 30 days have flown by without notice, apart that is for a small sprinkling of the white stuff! I can remember wading to school through six or seven inches of the stuff in my wellington boots and the only teacher who didn’t arrive was in the Derbyshire town of Buxton, where the snowdrifts prevented the mobility of public transport. Enough of hearing about the days when the schools remained open until the boilers ran out of coal and we sat in freezing classrooms still wearing our winter coats, at least those of us who were lucky enough to have coats!
I saw a friend, of many years standing, had entered an annual international writing competition whose single aim is to write a novel of 50,000 words during the month of November, [ naniwrimo ]! To be honest I toyed with the idea, my Family History Research had hit yet another brick wall. In fact I have more incomplete walls than the fallen Roman Empire. I got to day 15 and had produced 26k words. As the list of characters increased I renamed them using names from my list of ancestors. I am not so vain as to use my birth name so instead my great uncle became the leading man and his leading lady was my Great x 3 Grandmother. An exception to this rule is the name of the villain!
I had been use to working under pressure and having deadlines set from above most of my working life. Never did I have a self imposed deadline and never have I written 50k words in just thirty days. The character’s began, as they do, to take over the story, but you have no time to correct, no time to restrain them or the story. A minor character became part of the main thread of the story. With only 5 days to go I lost the whole of one day’s writing. Trying to send an email, read updates on facebook and place an online order all at the same time, I deleted instead of saved! Which proves that multi tasking only leads to errors and inefficiency! November 29th and 3,000 short! The final day dawned, November 30th and by lunchtime I was 900 words short of the arbitrary target. With a final effort we reached the magical 50,000 and the story ended with a word count of 50380. I thank my friends for the encouragement they gave me. You know who you are.  Thank You.
I prepared and ate my tea but it turned to ash in my mouth as I watched on television, Manchester United crumble to a 4 – 0 thrashing at West Ham. 



  1. Well done Laird! I am looking forward to seeing snippets and tantalizing tasters in your blog!

    -7 deg here in Essex with about 4″ snow in the Wildwood.

    West Ham my local club! Beat Man U, Oh well done!

    Suki x

  2. It must have been a moment of great relief and satisfaction, when you wrote the words “The End” ! I look forward to reading it.
    RE: footy. you can’t win anything with “kids”….

    • I have been at a total loss this week – cann t even get down the pub cos of the white stuff. . this group of kids do not inspire me as much as the homegrown Mancunians did in 1995 !

  3. Do not tempt fate, you will probably get a lot more snow yet. Wish you luck with your story

  4. Congratulations on reaching the 50K goal in NANOWRIMO! Well done!

    In answer to your question at a previous reply of mine, yes, I write also, and am published in short fiction. I’ve never done NANOWRIMO.

    November is not a good month for an American wife and mother–we have Thanksgiving here, with huge preparations on the part of the lady of the house–and also, it’s so close to the year-end holidays, Christmas and such, that I simply have no time. I’ve actually met the founder of the NANOWRIMO effort (he lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where I also live) and BEGGED him to change it to some other month–October seemed good to me. However, it had already become a November tradition, and so….

    As for me, I’ve written two novels; one is polished and ready to go and one is in second draft. The first I wrote in six weeks of steady effort. The second I wrote in just over four, during a similar “March madness” group effort, but not international. I mention this because, though I don’t participate in NANOWRIMO, I totally get the magnitude of your achievement, so my congratulations to you are quite sincere.

    I’ve lived two years in the U.K. and love your wonderful country. Believe it or not, I enjoyed the English weather. Sometimes I feel there’s too much boring sun here in California.

    Yes. I know. You’re pointing the gun now.

    Oops, forgot! That’s America, not British.

    Congratulations again, and


  5. Haha… Reading your post makes my head spin!
    Congratulation on achieving your goal, by the way!
    I read on paper that Europe is having a bad snow now?

    • Yes it was quite a project, no time to correct spelling mistakes ect. You will have to enter next year! It is not just an english language competition so you could try chinese, japanese or your own language 😉 Yes we have had snow, winter weather has arrived early this year. I have to brave the icy roads later today to do my weekly shopping @ a local supermarket. Thank you for your good wishes. Hope the volcano has stopped erupting – send some of your sunshine !!

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