There are just a few hours of November left and after 11.59.59pm I will officially be a big #writingfailure.

A month ago I promised myself I was definitely going to be a NaNoWriMo victor by right about now – but once again I’ve failed to get off the starting blocks. Still, I am in good company. In 2011 more than 36,000 managed to hit the NaNoWriMo jackpot – and about 220,000 didn’t.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a ‘fun’ project to get writers writing. The idea is to produce 50,000 words, most of which, according to the organisers, will be ‘a lot of crap’ but will nevertheless form the rough outline of a novel, which the writer can spend the next few months polishing into perfection. 50,000 words in a month is quite some going by anyone’s standards, but even I hoped to get further than producing 1,143 words by Day 3 then stalling.

All one needs to write, declared Virginia Woolf, is a private income and a room of one’s own. Unfortunately I don’t have a rich benefactor and the room I would like to call my own is all-too-frequently occupied by two bouncy, shrieking small children. I have taken on far too many freelance projects than is healthy this autumn (see previous post: one’s inability to say ‘no’) and, for good measure, I’m starting a new staff writer job on Monday.

Get up early and find that extra hour each day! proclaim NaNoWriMo forum enthusiasts. I already get up at 6.30am to identify which pieces of school uniform I’ve failed to iron and to write ‘healthy and inventive sandwich fillings’ on my shopping list whilst once again reaching for the cheese and mayo. Give up TV! That would be a pleasure, seeing as mine hasn’t shown anything other than Thomas the Tank Engine and Good Luck Charlie since 2004.

What NaNoWriMo has done, however, is make me realise the realistic. If I didn’t have two children, two jobs, a new trails book pitch to pull together or any friends at all, 50,000 words might just be plausible. As it is, NaNoWriMo’s ’30 days and nights of literary abandon’ has had to be abandoned in the face of more pressing matters, such as paying the mortgage and firing tricky seven-times-table questions over the breakfast cereal.

But NaNoWriMo remains a brilliant idea and really does give hopefuls like me that glimmer of possibility. I just need a new approach. I will manage 50,000 words by the end of next November – by starting now. OK, it might not strictly be in the spirit of things, but that’s only 1,000 words a week and I think I can do it by re-allocating the time I currently spend on social media. Which is a shame, because at 11.59.59 there is going to be a flurry of NaNoWriMo Facebook updates, and I’m sure there’ll be some cracking advice on the forum…