It's coming. You likely didn't know about it, but it arrives every year on November 1.
It's the National Novel Writing Month. Affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.
They describe it on their website thusly:
Occasionally, participants write in to ask about the rules of the event. We don't have many! But because we've found that creativity is often heightened by constraints (and communities bolstered by shared goals) we have evolved a handful of rules over the years. The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
- Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
- Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people's works).
- Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you're writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
- Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
- Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
- Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 3
Now, you know, you've always wanted to write that blockbuster novel. But, getting started is tough. Just typing those first words on the screen can full of agonizing choices. So, here's your chance to challenge yourself. Write it down! Get it started. You can always go back and edit later. Or, better yet, have someone else edit for you. But, for now, NaNoWriMo might be just the impetus you need to get started!
The first NaNoWriMo took place in San Francisco during July, 1999. Twenty-one people participated. "...our July noveling binge had little to do with any ambitions we might have harbored on the literary front. Nor did it reflect any hopes we had about tapping more fully into our creative selves. No, we wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twentysomethings start bands. Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn't have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists."
Read more of their history here. It's a fun read.
In 2011, 36,843 writers wrote 50,000 words or more during the month of November. That's out of 256,618 that made the attempt. As a matter of fact, the number of words officially logged during the 2011 event: 3,074,068,446
NaNoWriMo has even put up a "How it works" page to help you kick off the month.
So, what are you waiting for? Be ready. It's coming.
Editor's Note: If you decide to take the challenge, leave a note in the comments below, so we can follow your progress!