To steal liberally from the website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, a.k.a., NaNo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30.” (And it’s not like there are penalties if you go for 95k…)
I’ve done it for two years now, and find it amazingly useful. I know people who use it to focus in on their work in progress (WIP)/current manuscript, and others who start from scratch and create an entirely new concept for starting with on Nov. 1. The goal is to get words on the page every day for thirty days. The cool part? They have graphics embedded, so when you put in your daily word count, you get a chart that shows you how you’re doing, and how much more you need to do.
I can’t say it’s easy. I will say it’s simple. You can do it in whatever way works for you—long hand, Scrivener, Word…as long as you get words on the page. It is incredibly motivating for your creativity. And the website provides encouragement from published authors and NaNo participants. If you’re a group person, there are links to find local gatherings (at bookstores, coffee shops, wherever). If you’re an online person, there are forums and loops. If you’re a loner, you can pick and chose what works for you, and still have a place to post your successes (and electronic celebrations of them, too, so you don’t feel quite so lonely!).
I find the deadlines work for me, even though they are mostly self-imposed. I get stuff DONE during November. So I highly recommend it. Check out NaNoWriMo online (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about) and/or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo).
There’s no downside—are you going to complain you only got 20,000 words of your book started if you don’t finish? No. You’ll have written 20k words!!! But, I’ll bet that as you watch those numbers climb, you’re going to want to hit the 50K goal.
I hope you’ll join me in NaNo in 24 hours. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it!!