Once upon a time I wrote a 50,000 word novel. It was rubbish but that didn’t matter as it meant that I had “won” NaNoWriMo. So what is NaNoWriMo?
It stands for National Novel Writing Month and is held in November each year. It originated in the USA and now has participants all over the world. The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days of November. Towards the end you run your novel through their word counter and if you reached the goal you win.
You are allowed to plan beforehand (NaNoPrep) but only the words written in November will count. The first year I participated I only found out with less than 48 hours to go. I had no plan (they call this pantsing – flying by the seat of your pants) and I managed just over 20,000 words. The second year I did a bit of planning of plot and characters but didn’t have the full outline. I did hit the 50,000 that year. It’s nice to set a goal and reach it. Plus there are forums and regional communities you can join so it is easy to find encouragement and people to celebrate your achievements with.
Last year I had vague inspiration but was far too distracted with reading baby books to concentrate on participating. This year I have a baby so I doubt I’d hit the goal if I choose to participate, however others have done so. They also have an accumulative word count section, where your words from each year are stored. No word is wasted! You can head to the official site http://nanowrimo.org/ to find out more.