Forget facial hair, November is the month for novel writing. NaNoWriMo may be a very awkward way of saying National Novel Writing Month, but if you can tell me a sexier way of spending the month of November than 'thirty days and nights of literary abandon' then please let me know.
The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. That works out to be 1,667 words a day, and even if 50,000 words probably isn't a complete novel (certainly not one of J.K Rowling or J. R. R Tolkien's anyway), it would be a good chunk of a first draft done and dusted.
Now in its 14th year, NaNoWriMo has gone from 21 wannabe novelists in the San Francisco Bay area in 1999, to over 250,000 people from around the world (and over 19,000 scriptwriters) madly penning their efforts in 2011.
Will you be joining them in 2012? I will.
Last year just shy of 37,000 writers reached their goal of writing 50,000 words, so it is not a sure thing. It's a challenge: a bit like the literary equivalent of climbing Everest. Many try but few succeed.
You need to sign up to the NaNo site. You need to be writing a work of fiction. And you have to start from scratch. Sure, you can spend the rest of October writing a detailed plan, but no words you write before November 1st can count towards your total. It's an honesty system, and if it didn't work, then there wouldn't be such a small 'win' rate.
Spend the month of November writing madly. The goal is quantity, not quality. You can edit later, say, in December. Every day you can upload your work to the official site for word tallying and if you manage to complete your 50,000 (different) words by the end of the month, you get a really cool web badge, a certificate, and your name on the Winner's Page for posterity.
The thing is, if you are a real writer, you are salivating right now. Metaphorically at least.
As for me, I will be feeding my kids Weetbix for the next month, the clothes will remain unwashed, and let's not even mention the cleaning. Thank heavens for home delivered groceries, at least we won't starve.
I did this in 2010 and came up with 60000 words that is, well, interesting to say the least. I wanted to do it again this year, but actually wrote my story in 2 weeks in October instead. (Don't you hate it when you get an idea that won't leave you alone?) Always a challenge and always fun. I recommend it, though it isn't as easy as it sounds.