The lunacy of ‘national days’ knows no bounds. Ahem, ‘National Devilled Egg Day’, ‘National Talk Like a Pirate Day’, and most ironic of all, ‘National Absurdity Day’ (November 20th, FYI). ‘National months’ however, invite more consideration - after all, they need to make approximately 31 times more sense. And November, famously, has a lot to do with facial hair, but also books, because November is ‘National Novel Writing Month’ (which is less-than-helpfully shortened to NaNoWriMo). The aim is for writers to complete a 50,000 word manuscript, and at present, there are over 798,000 people partaking. We’d like to think each and (nearly) every one, agree with us on why November is the time to do it.
How do I love thee? Let me count your perfect novel-writing ways…
Body-length indentations on the sofa, lolling between downy duvets, a crackling afternoon fire, or even just, ahh, the most joyous question in the English language: 'Shall we turn the heating on?’
The morning melds into the evening and into the night, where wine replaces tea, replaces coffee. And it’s a full-fat, full-cow, oat-need-not-apply coffee, because living in comfies has calorific benefits. Oh, and crucially, creative writing requires hearty nourishment. An unctuous stew bubbles on the hob, and a wooden spoon slathered in jus rests by its side. Those Sophie’s Choice moments of pudding or cheese are pleasingly redundant, because you’ll take both, of course. Deliberation is saved for the pursuits of the protagonist.
You have the power to plonk me in a single, outrageously comfy spot for hours, where I can gobble up a book that would take days, weeks even, in say, September. The same goes for putting pen to paper, or erm, fingers to keys - if only to dust and discipline ideas. All of this is helped immeasurably by ambience. Lamps hum with cosiness, and hide all manner of domestic sin: scuffed walls; mucky windows; furniture blanketed in dust. (All the stuff I wouldn’t be able to ignore were the sun shining on it). Candles meanwhile, provide just as good an escape as the books themselves. They schmooze the room and fill it with evocative, shoulder-melting, finger tingling smells of weather and wood and scarves and spice.
The solace found in saying no to every plan or party for the sake of finishing that prologue/ paragraph/ page is shameless, because plans and parties are the stuff of December.
Oh November, novel or no novel, you’re the month we should all embrace.
Next year, perhaps?