It's that time of year again – National November Writing Month a/k/a Nanowrimo. Every year, crazy people all over the world sign up on a website and vow to write 50,000 words in the 30 day period from November 1st to November 30th. People either do it on their own or meet up in groups at write-ins held in cafes, libraries, private homes, etc.
The object of the event is for authors to turn off their inner editors and produce 50,000 words of the first draft of a new novel in 30 days. Since every first draft is terrible anyway and in major need of fixing, the goal is to produce a first draft of a novel that you can fix later. As my favorite author Nora Roberts pointed out: You can fix a first draft. You can't fix a blank page.
Every day, authors update their word counts on the Nanowrimo website located at http://www.nanowrimo.org where their buddies and municipal liaisons can track their progress. In a perfect world, each author whips out a minimum of 1667 words a day to meet their goal. Towards the end of the month, word count validators are put onto the website where authors can scramble their novels and then upload them. If they reach 50,000 words, they “win” and receive a winner's certificate and bragging rights.
The website itself is chock full of interesting articles and helpful material. There are forums where you can seek advice from other writers on any topic in every genre. For example, there are forums for romance novels, fantasy novels, mystery novels, chick lit, young adult novels, etc. There is even a forum for erotic fiction. There are also forums on everything from how to reach 50,000 words, to life during Nano to plot doctoring if you get stuck halfway through. You can also find information about the locations of write-ins in your area.
This will be my fourth year participating in Nanowrimo. I have written three novels so far and I wrote them all during the month of November in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Something about the accountability that is part of this event and the support I receive from other writers during this time helps me to be productive. If you ever thought about writing a book, this is the event to jumpstart your writing career. Go ahead, check out Nanowrimo's website and sign up. You'll be happy that you did.
Let me know how it goes.