For my little band of writer friends, the end of October isn't a time to ask, "What are you and/or your kids going to be for Halloween," but rather, "Are you going to do NaNoWriMo?"
I've done National Novel Writing Month three times and "won" it once. Each time I've gotten something valuable out of the experience.
Sure, it's meant putting aside some basic human necessities like laundry and food that takes more than 10 minutes to prepare.* Hitting a 50,000 word count in the space of a month that also has holidays like Thanksgiving rolled into it is tough. But here's the thing. You're going to have 50,000 words of editable work if you win. Even if you don't, you're going to have something on a page and that's a lot easier to craft and edit than a blank Word document. .
After winning NaNoWriMo for the first time last year, I also noticed an unexpected side benefit: I write more. Rather than the 1K I was cranking out a night after my day job, my numbers started ticking up. If you break NaNoWriMo's word count down into equal parts, you wind up with 1,667 words a day.** Now I routinely write between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day, five days a week. That's a whole lot of words that I can directly attribute to NaNoWriMo ratcheting up my productivity.
So, to all of you who are on the fence about NaNoWriMo or anyone who has always wanted to write a novel but didn't know how to go about it, I'm challenging you to write along with me. The words you get out on the page don't have to be good. They just have to be words, and I want you to write them fearlessly.
Now go forth and NaNoWriMo!
*I basically live off of pesto and grilled chicken during the month of November.
**Once you write to that 1,667 words a day goal for a month, you will never be able to forget that magic number.