Well, in three weeks we will be heading into a month of "literary abandon." November is National Novel Writing Month. That time of the year when thousands of writers. ranging from seasoned pros to absolute beginners, try to write an entire 50,000 word novel in a month. It's sort of like marathoning. Unless you've done it, you don't know why other people do.
You can keep bungee jumping, sky diving, undersea demolition, this is the real adrenaline rush. Chasing along behind your characters as they travel through their adventure at 1650 words a day - or more. Many of us take the 50,000 word goal as just a beginning. I'm going to be going for 75K this year. I know some who try to make 100K or more.
So, why do I do this? What good is it?
I find that a strange question. You don't see people asking guys in tea shirts and baseball caps, guzzling beer and shouting "Go Defense" why they do it? You don't ask someone watching an opera or delighting in a symphony why they do it? First and foremost, it is just plain fun. Writing is fun in and of itself, but when you mix in the games, the word sprints, the chatter in the discussion forums, on Twitter, Facebook and Google plus, the general camaraderie among writers scattered all over the world, it is like a month long party taking place all over the world.
Perhaps, on a more practical note, Nanowrimo gives a chance to experiment. Now, that I am supporting myself in part from my writing, I tend to think somewhat conservatively. I know that my Dark Side of the Moon characters are popular, and I can move into character easily with them, so I gravitate toward them. Nonfiction sells and sells good. So, I research trending topics and write about them. It's fun, but it's also safe.
During November, I throw literary safety to the wind and play with other ideas which may or may not be commercial. I write the stories I might not have written otherwise. I get creative and even a bit crazy, but sometimes crazy is what you need to be to come up with the Big Ideas.
Finally, it helps me write. I have to write everyday or I'll get behind. I have to write fast and put editing aside until later or I won't make my number for the day. I have to set aside the distractions of life for one month to pursue my craft. If I can do that in November, then I can do it other months as well.
If you are considering Nanowrimo yourself, I have put together a guide called The Road to Success in Nanowrimo on Kindle. You can download it on your smartphone, tablet, computer or Kindle device. You can also read it in the Kindle cloud. It is a guide for the beginner covering everything from time management to plotting the novel. It's only 99 Cents and, if you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow it for free.
Also, during this month, I'm curating a paper at http://paper.li/terrimain/1350097978# You can keep up with what bloggers, journalists and others are saying about Nano this month.
If you are in the forums, my username is terrimain and I'll be following the #nanowrimo hashtag on Twitter where you can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/terrimain.