November might mean Thanksgiving and black Friday to the uninitiated, but writers know it is National Novel Writing Month. Between 12:01 AM on November 1 and 11:59 PM on November 30, thousands of authors all over the world commit themselves to writing a 50,000 word novel.
2011 marked my first year as a NaNoWriMo participant. At 9:00 AM on November 30, I confirmed my word count at 50,200. I won!
So, what did I learn from my successful participation in NaNoWriMo? Actually, quite a lot.
1. Free-writing is fun.
In order to pound out 50,000 words in a single month, you have to put a choke collar on your inner editor and just allow the words to flow however they like. The results might cause your high school English teacher to faint in horror, but I guarantee you will have more fun--and more ideas for your fiction--than you've had in ages.
2. Procrastination = Pain
You can complete a 50,000-word novel at the relatively sedate pace of 1667 words per day. Or, you can do what I did, blow off a bunch of days, and then spend the day before zero hour writing 9000 words in an effort to catch up. Ow.