National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is the time of year you let your hair down, put your sweat pants on and strive with all your might (and little regard for your sanity) to write a 50000 word novel in one month. It can be done I assure you, but even you don't reach the holy 50k mark don't worry, after all, half the fun is in the journey.
NaNoWriMo has a lot to offer, to wannabe writers and experienced novelists alike. For me it was the initial push I needed to sit down and write a large body of work. The mandate that what you produce during NaNoWrimo doesn't have to be good and in fact is likely not to be takes a lot of the pressure of and turns what could be a stressful, depressing spiral into self hatred into a lot fun.
It also provides a sense of community for what is usually a solitary activity. The various forums can be source of learning, inspiration, or just a place to unload. And no matter where you're writing there is likely to be a local chapter that will host meet-and-greets, group writing sessions and the end of the month party. You won't want to miss that.
It's free to sign up, though donations are welcome. And if you do donate you get a little halo above your name in the forums which is nice. As you write you can update your word count and monitor your progress with charts and word count bars, which always helps me push a little harder. Weekly pep talks from successful writers offer encouragement and remind you to keep going. And if you do reach 50000 words there are prizes, so that's great too. There's also a Young Writers Program for students and children where they can set their own word count goal to aspire to.
It's hard work but a lot of fun. If you've ever wanted to be a writer or are about to embark on your hundredth novel writing adventure NaNoWriMo is the ideal place to get your creative juices flowing. You'll make new friends, try new things and maybe even learn something new about yourself. Give it a go, the possibilities are endless.
I have done this six years in a row and won each year - the year before last I managed it in a week and on jetlag - so that novel kind of spiralled. But it is so much fun, and I encourage other writers to give it a go. I will be participating again thsi year too.