Today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month 2012.
Here is what the NaNoWriMo site has to say about their purpose:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
I have participated in NaNoWriMo for three previous years: 2009, 2010 and 2011. I've succeeded at it every year, usually going well over 50,000 words. Last year, I managed over 75,000 words, having reached the first 50,000 words in two weeks. (I wrote a blog post about how to write 50,000 words in 14 days.) I have not yet published a novel, but I have managed to create several short stories from my NaNoWriMo novels which I have been able to enter into competitions (with a only a few alterations to them) and I have even won some of those competitions.
Today, the first day of this year's NaNoWriMo, did not start out well. I have been sick for a couple of days now. Every muscle in my body has been aching and every movement I make hurts. I have a raging headache and a fever. I woke up today to find that my cats had made a huge mess of the litterbox, so my first act of the day was to clean out the very messy cat litterbox. Then my dog, apparently also ill today, had diarrhea all over the hallway floor which I had to clean up and then disinfect the floor. Then one of my sons wrote on my bedroom wall and that had to be cleaned up. Then my 6 year old started complaining that he felt cold. I checked his temperature and he was running a fever.
So basically, today sucked. However, despite all of this, I managed to spend some time this evening writing and I wrote 2,009 words of a new novel. Although I had been determined to plan ahead and outline my novel beforehand this year, I didn't actually decide on which story idea to use for NaNoWriMo until I sat down to write this evening. Now I am so excited about the story that I can't wait to get back to it!
And that, in essence, is what draws me back to NaNoWriMo every year, what keeps me writing my novels: The excitement of writing a new story, of being pulled into a new world that I get to create and meeting new characters who always seem to dictate to me where their story is going to take us.