Sometimes it’s good to be isolated from one’s family

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November is not only the month when many of your co-workers will be growing a moustache – hopefully just the men – to raise funds for and awareness of prostate and other male cancers.

It’s also the time of year when thousands of people across the globe take part in National Novel Writing Month. This is an exercise in self-discipline for all those people out there who say either ‘I could write a book’, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a book’, or ‘I nearly wrote a book last year’.

Go on, admit it, you’ve said it at least once. Or, if you honestly haven’t, I bet you know at least five people who have.

The whole idea of the ‘competition’ is to just do it. The requirements for success are that you pen 50,000 words during November with a start, middle and end, then submit it to for a word count verifier.

It doesn’t have to be good, or edited, or perfect – it’s more like the first outpouring of creativity which you can then go back and refine if so desired. Literary abandon.

I’ve been looking forward to this exercise all through October, busily plotting a story line. To me it’s great, but to my son it’s sadly lacking in zombies and guns.

Our thoughts on young adult fiction are, it seems, at different ends of the spectrum.

What does he know about writing for young teenage boys, I ask myself. He may be one, but as his mother surely I know best?

All my children have been adding their thoughts, including the necessity of having a section about bird lungs. This led me to conclude that sometimes it’s best to be isolated from one’s family.

Isolation, however, is very distracting. I know, I am the queen of isolation procrastination. My kettle, washing machine and telephone are my best friends.

I talk to them lovingly, anything to keep me away from actually having to write something.

But that’s the beauty of ‘nanowrimo’, there are local groups everywhere who organise write-in days with other likeminded souls who, I hope, will not distract you with avian organs.

You just pop along with your laptop and your lunch, and crack on. Wish me luck.