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Have you always wanted to write a book? Plenty of people across the country have dreamed of becoming a novelist, myself included.

I wrote my first novel in 2005. Since then I have completed four novels and have many, many more half done. That’s what happens when you are busy changing diapers and going to soccer practice — lots of half-finished novels.

Enter National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The month of November is set aside for would-be authors to finally sit down at the ole laptop and write their book. The goal is to complete 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Last year, over 400,000 people participated and hundreds of authors who completed the challenge have been traditionally published (and even more have self-published).

There are groups that meet across the country and right here in the Upstate to discuss their novels, have group writing times, and encourage one another. I have met some extremely eclectic people at these NaNoWriMo meetings, and they are incredibly encouraging and fun.

If you manage to write your 50,000 words and get them uploaded to nanowrimo.org, you win the challenge and you get a nifty t-shirt and certificate to commemorate your hard work. I’ve won twice. But even in the years I have not won, I have worked hard and did my best.

I hear you. “Allison, I have five kids. I work 40-hour weeks. I don’t have the time.” I know you don’t. I don’t either. But if you have always wanted to write a book, this is your chance. Start writing and pray your family can do the laundry themselves for a month. My husband is very supportive and has learned to look the other way when our house looks like a tornado disaster scene the entire month.

But, good news, the hard work pays off. I’m finally having a novel published early next year by a small, local publisher. It’s like releasing one of your children out into the world and the feeling is incredible. Yes, it has been a long time coming, but nobody remembers the unwashed dishes — what my family remembers is that Mom was working hard and now that dedication has paid off.

Why not give it a go? Want to write a travel book? A children’s book? A Fabio-worthy romance? Do it! This is your chance. Join me this November for NaNoWriMo.

Find out more at nanowrimo.org.

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