November is National Novel-Writing Month and the organisers invite the public to dust off the keyboard and get started on that novel they've been meaning to write all these years.
The goal is simple: On 1 November, start writing your novel with the goal of producing 50,000 words by 30 November. Personally, I'd have preferred a month with 31 days, but there you are. That means you need to write about 1,700 words every day, which is not as hard as it sounds. The idea is not to sit and fuss over every word or turn of phrase; it's to crank out as much as you can in the given time. What you'll end up with won't win you the Booker Prize (though by today's standards, I wouldn't be too sure), but you'll have that hardest part of novel writing out of the way: A first draught. December is when you sit down and start polishing it.
This comes along at a very good time for me. For the past eight months I've been making notes for a new novel and this seems like as good an excuse as any to get started on it. Next month, I'll be cranking out my 1,700 words and posting a diary of my progress here on The Quill & The Keyboard. You're invited to tag along and hopefully it will inspire a few procrastinators to sharpen their pen nibs, smooth the foolscap, and freshen that bowl of roses on the writing desk.
For more tips on getting started, Wired has a wiki on National Novel-Writing Month.