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NaNoWriMax

50,000 words in a month? Why stop there? WM creative writing courses coordinator Sally Bridgewater decided to take NaNoWriMo to a new level, with some very clear benefits

Twenty hours in, my thoughts seize up and my fingers falter. ‘I don’t hear any tippy-tappy!’ My friend Tonks, sitting in an armchair beside me, jumps in to spur me on after one second of silence. My thoughts jangle around in my head. It is curious, but when one is thinking ‘Come on, I need to do this!’ one is not concentrating on the actual doing of it.

Then the screen turns red, and a spider graphic appears and starts to disemvowel my writing.

‘No! Spider!’ I cry, and jab the letter ‘J’ to make it go away.

The spider is from the program Write Or Die, which I’m using for two reasons: it shows me a live Wordometer (I need to maintain an average of 42 words per minute), and it uses some devastatingly effective accountability measures to keep me on track. It is still not quite as effective as my friend (Sarah Jane) Tonks, who has decided to stay up with me until 5am to see that I complete my Wordathon. My 50,000-word, 24-hour Wordathon.

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BUMPER ISSUE: Plan your writing year with our definitive guide to festivals, workshops, courses and events for writers in 2016 101 ways to inspire new ideas How to: Market your ebook Write the perfect submission letter Sell your article ideas 'Leave it out!": Create cliché-free crime dialogue Get active! Make the most of your writing retreat AND Get Booked at your local library Star interview with crime writer Louise Welsh, on tackling dark topics with a light touch

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