NaNoWriMo is, for those of you who’ve never heard of it, National Novel Writing Month (aka November). The theory is to take a month known for not the bestest of weather and challenge yourself to write at least 50,000 words of that novel you’ve always been meaning to write, lack of motivation, willpower or talent be damned. Because it’s one thing to think “I should write a novel,” and another thing to find the motivation to actually do so.

Here’s a link to the website, where they explain everything in greater detail.

I NaNo’d last year and “won,” so I’ll throw out there why I did it and why I’ll be writing along again this year.* We’ll start with the biggest and most important reason: it’s awesome to see how many other people out there are doing it, especially when you see that you have friends doing it and had no idea they wrote at all, much less dreamt of writing a novel. So it works as a community builder. And then there’s the deadline thing: to keep up, you need to write, on average, 1, 667 or so words a day. That’s a lot, but it’s not actually unmanageable. NaNo helps justify making Butt-In-Chair (BIC) writing time a priority, and if you spend a lot of time with Butt-In-Chair, you will eventually get faster and better at writing, which makes the wordcount goal happen. And then finally, it’s just really nerdy fun. You’re not watching tv, you’re not playing video games or anything else: you’re creating. It does awesomefun things to your brain: characters will appear out of nowhere and demand to be added to the story, scenes will pop up out of nowhere and insert themselves somewhere, you’ll find insane ways to get your characters out of the corners you’ve written them into (and some of those insane ways will actually work), your characters will start yelling at you while you’re trying to sleep for being mean to them, etc. It’s really cool nerdy as hell, but awesome anyway.

To be honest, the draft will most likely suck in parts when you’re done. But all first drafts suck in places. Harry Potter was not Harry Potter as we know it the first time that J.K. Rowling wrote it. However, a draft can be edited and made better. If you haven’t written a draft it can’t be made better, because it doesn’t exist.

So if you feel the urge to write, NaNo is an awesome way to go about it. You get a draft done-ish and you have a community of people on the NaNo forums who are doing the same grueling thing and enjoying it just as much. They’ll be there for support and ideas and laughter and everything else, and it’s fantastic.

My username over there is nunkin (after one of my cats) – feel free to come find me!

*I won’t be counting this year’s work toward winning, because I’m already around 10K in, and NaNo doesn’t want you to start writing until midnight on November 1st. I’d feel like I was cheating if I did. However, I will be writing along: I’m planning on writing 50K words in addition to the 10K I’ve already got now and the however many more I add before then, and hoping that I can get the draft of this mess done. That way I can ignore it for a month, then reread it, then rewrite it, then beta it, then rerewrite, then query and etc.