I first heard about NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. Since I was in graduate school, it was simply out of the question for me to commit to writing a novel (even a crappy one) in a month. But now I'm footloose and fancy-free (aka unemployed), so I'll be giving NaNoWriMo a go.
Just what is NaNoWriMo? Glad you asked. It's short for National Novel Writing Month, a wacky idea started by a group of writers to kick start their writing mojo. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Since word count was a concern of mine (see last blog entry), NaNoWriMo will give me the impetus I need to get out the vomit draft of my YA novel. I'm a huge believer in the power of the vomit draft. Getting that novel out isn't pretty and it usually stinks, too. But it's done. And then its time to clean up.
NaNoWriMo costs nothing to participate and there is really only one rule. You gotta start from scratch. No reworking old drafts, no finishing works-in-progress. Oops. It's my first NaNoWriMo and I'm breaking the cardinal rule. But I've only got 12 pages of my YA novel so far and I probably will only have 2 or 3 more by the time November rolls around. I figure if I don't count the pages I already have, I'm staying within the spirit of the thing.
Even if I'm cheating, I don't care. I'm doing this to force me into the time management that will produce a novel (even a crappy one) in a month. NaNoWriMo will have served its purpose and I'll have my vomit draft. Because the real goal isn't 50,000 words; it's being one step closer to telling the story I want to share with readers.