For all you aspiring writers out there, hold on to your hats: National Novel Writing Month is nearly here! November is the month where thousands of writers band together and each pledge to write an entire novel in a single month. There's no one critiquing your work. You won't get a publishing contract the moment you finish. There are no judges giving out awards for the best novel. What's it's about is motivation, and getting your body into a chair and writing.
The goal is 50,000 words, which averages to about 1700 words a day. If you're a writer, you know how many words that really is. Doable, but challenging. It's only a rough draft, obviously, so the words don't have to be polished. They just have to be written.
Regional groups hold local write-ins and other activities, and the website has great forums where writers inspire and word-duel each other. It's also one of the few places where you don't have to be afraid to ask a questions like "How much does a tattoo cost in Estonia?" or "How many hippo steaks can you get from an average hippo?" Even better, after you ask such questions, you'll get answers. Lots of other fun stuff on the forums will give you plenty of procrastination excuses, but don't forget that the whole point is to work those fingers on the keyboard.
So, if you've never written a novel but always wanted to, or if you've published sixty-two of them, join us for National Novel Writing Month at www.nanowrimo.org. It's free, it's fun, and it's yours if you choose to accept the challenge.