I've joined the league of the insane. This year, I've decided, for lack of a job or anything better to do, to participate in NaNoWriMo.
For those of you who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it's the acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Starting on November 1st every year, writers from across the globe commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. It's a time to toss out the desire to go-back-and-fix, to make a perfect plan before writing. True, it's a bit quantity-over-quality, but at the same time, I think that's positive. Rough drafts are always going to be crap, no matter what you do, and if, at the end of the month, I have a pile of crap that can be lovingly coaxed into something less smelly, than I'll be really pleased with myself.
One of the parts about NaNoWriMo that is so much fun is the community that is built on nanowrimo.org. You can participate on the forums and add people as friends on your main page. As you update your word-count, you get a great little status-bar that shows you how far you are towards your goal, and also a graph that shows you how far ahead or behind you are in your journey, and how many words-per-day you have to write to finish on time.
My favorite part of that is the "word war" widget you can get, which allows you to post a little graphic that shows how you and your friends' word-counts compare. Adryn and I have been duking it out every day. By the time I go to bed, I'm a good deal ahead of her. By the time I wake up, she's written until she's just ahead of me. Grrr.
This is awesome motivation. Not only does it motivate me to write more and more each day for my own sake, but it also motivates me to write more, just so I can challenge her to write more. Adryn is using this opportunity to break through what has been a really tough creative block for her, and I'm doing everything I can to support her.
Raven, too, is using the opportunity to make her story more than a series of thoughts and scenes in her head. Using the "Notecarding" method created by Holly Lisle, the three of us have worked out plots for our stories. I've managed a fairly complete one, Adryn has plotted fully to the halfway point, and Raven has managed to get more than she had ever expected out of her story by throwing away (to an impressive degree, for Raven) the expectation that it all be perfect.
I know we can do this, and I'm really excited to see what the end of the month produces. I have the advantage (in NaNoWriMo, anyway) over both Adryn and Raven by being a jobless loser, so I'm going to take my loser-hood by the horns, break off those horns, and use them as styluses (styli?) to write my novel. /terrible metaphor.