November is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is to complete a 50,000 word novel in a month. But, it's also much more than that. It's about establishing a habit, about challenging yourself to pursue your passion. Not everybody can do it. And that's okay.
I've personally participated in NaNo since 2010. I completed the challenge every year but one (2015). It was one of the toughest challenges I've ever undertaken but after several years of competing and almost a dozen completed manuscripts under my belt (I've published eight of them), I was able to leave my jobs and take up life as a freelance writer.
Since May 2016, I have written more than a dozen novels and novellas that have been purchased and published by clients. Most of them have been well over 50,000 words. I've always been a writer, always felt the need to expel my feelings on paper (or the equivalent). NaNo showed me what I really had inside and what I had to do to live the life I want to live.
If you've followed my blogs, any of them, you know that my kids are unbelievably supportive. They even ask me if I've done my writing for the day and chastise me if I haven't. The thing is, I write every day and NaNo has taught me the importance of that more than anything I've read or anyone I've talked to. Everybody under the sun can tell me to write every day, to make writing a habit, but until I experienced the benefits of writing every single day - whether I was up to it or not - became clearest during NaNo.
Take today for instance, I'm nursing a hell of a sinus infection but I still am writing. In fact, I was silly enough to sign on for a 10,000 word day with a few friends of mine. While my body is screaming "stupid, stupid, STUPID," my brain is saying "thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!" Maybe I don't hit 10,000 words today, maybe I do. Either way, I moved closer to my goal of a completed novel and maintaining the practice, or rather the habit, of writing.