But it is an affliction.
Seriously, though, some people have been asking what NaNoWriMo is all about. What does it stand for? What do you have to do? And most importantly, why am I doing this to myself? (Again?)
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Basically, a bunch of people around the world hold aside the month of November to write out the entire first draft of a novel. It can be about anything or anyone. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be 50,000 words or more and completed between November 1-30. That's 50,000 words in 30 days... roughly 1667 words per day.
I started participating in 2008, when I "won" by finishing the first draft of Re-Gifting Ava. From that book, which many of you have read, I garnered a great review of my work from a blogging site's editor and spawned a five-book women's fiction series called Boston in Common. I wrote the second book of the series, Redeeming Grace, during the month of March using the same NaNoWriMo strategy (just without the fancy word count meter). The other three are outlined, but still need to be written. Ava and Grace have been hovering in edit land for a long, long time. Although I had an agent interested, I'm currently not signed with anyone, so no publication plans yet. Those ladies (Ava and Grace) need to get their acts together (and so do I....)
In 2009, I was totally preggo and my brain went on vacation. I competed, but did not win. According to Bogart, my first attempt at a mystery/romance hybrid clocked in around 15,000 before I got a mystery virus that landed me on the couch for two weeks. NaNoWriMo came and went last year... it was very depressing.
This year, I'm working on a stand-alone romance called Otherwise Engaged. I'm blogging about my progress here if you're interested. So far, I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay behind on my word count, but I have time. A couple of afternoons in a coffee house ought to do the trick, if I can just find the time.
So that's what NaNoWriMo is. Why do I do it? I love a good challenge. I love the discipline it forces me to have. And I love the idea of having a brand new novel to edit by December. I once saw a button that said "NaNoWriMo: Suicide for Creative People." While it may feel like that some days, I think it's really the opposite. You sink or swim, but if you can swim, you might've just discovered a brand new talent that was hiding inside you all this time.