I tend to be a broken record. I get one idea in my head, and can't seem to lose it. The idea, that is. My mind I tend to misplace quite often... ;-)
But for those of you who want to know more about my NaNoWriMo experience and thoughts, here you go.
I tried NaNoWriMo two years ago, but only reached about 12,000 words, I think, and then go so far behind that I decided to give up. But I had a glorious taste of its joys that first time.
This last year, I tried again and actually won! The feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration at the end was simply indescribable. Of course my story was corny and often very predictable, but when you're writing furiously, when your inner editor is banished for the month (on pain of purposely mispelling every word to torture it untill it leaves), things start to happen that you could never have planned. Weird characters come out of nowhere. Dull characters start to say and do the funniest things. Long and twisty slides just happen to appear as perfectly handy escape routes.
Yes, that actually happened in mine.
The whole thing was definitely worth while, even if my wild tale never ends up going anywhere beyond my own editing. Some NaNoWriMo novels have been published, so it is possible. But it's not the main goal.
If you can get your hands on a No Plot? No Problem! book (the "official" NaNoWriMo guide), it's a great encourager. It does have a bit of crude language, so beware. But even if you just flipped through it at a library or bookstore, it's highly motivating and quite hilarious. And it mentions ninja monkeys.
Last year I posted my story on a private blog and sent invites to family and friends who I thought might be amused and/or interested. That was actually quite motivating for me. They were constantly commenting and wanting more, urging me to not leave my characters in dire situations, and I had more fun torturing readers (and myself) with horrible cliff-hanging chapter endings and corny mysterious lines left dangling.
Another thing that helped was having a good friend of mine in another state do it with me. She and I sent each other chapters as we finished them, and even though we didn't always have time to read them, it was a extra nudge to write my own story when I saw she'd just written a new bit. This technique might only work with one other person, and the best thing would be if it was someone you knew wouldn't mind typos or corniness or plot holes, because of course they will abound. Taking time to edit in the middle will kill your creative impulse. Find someone else craz- er, creative, and do it together!
As to times, try to figure out a good time to write. Away from sight of beds or comfy couches, if possible! If your days are very flexible (mine were last year, since I stay at home a lot and help my family and do all sorts of random and odd tasks every week), then it might actually be harder than, say, writing mainly in mornings or at night. But make yourself do it.
When you're in your novel, in "the zone", watching the story unfold before your very mind's eye, time is no more. You become a pioneer, going where no man or woman or kid or squirrel has ever dared to stick a toe before. And I think you get a wee, tinsy tiny glimps of the joys of creating which God had when He spoke the world into being.
I might be saying more about NaNoWriMo in future blog posts... The bug to write has really bitten me early this year, and I want other people to share in the joys of NaNo! ;-) If you decide to do it, please let me know, and I would love to encourage and urge you on! If you live nearby (you know who you are), we might even organize some writing days to meet at a bookstore and type together furiously for a few hours of literary silence. With coffee. Lots and lots of tea, chocolate, and coffee. :-)