Tomorrow the madness begins! Are you ready?
I've written a lot of books, novellas, and novelettes (I've actually kind of lost count of my total publishing credits), and they all begin with one thing: that thing that fascinates you. All you need is a serious level of passion for one thing to fuel the story. Passion for the Viking Age led to The Gripping Beast. Werewolves produced a whole series of novels and novelettes. Fascination with Nephilim, plus Jehovah's Witness and Barry Manilow jokes? Wicked Hot.
Whatever grabs your imagination, that's the thing to let your imagination loose on, and there is no better opportunity than NaNoWriMo to just let it rip. It doesn't have to be good. It doesn't have to be publishable or even readable. If you're a new writer or one who has been around the block so many times the street has a foot-deep groove, NaNo is a great way to give in to passion and dive in to process without worrying about whether it's a good use of time. It's a month out of your life. If the results are lousy, so what? It's a month you didn't spend watching reality TV, and you will have learned something from the process.
I'm using NaNo to break from "real work" and take a risk. My project may well be totally unpublishable. I couldn't care less. I know that to reach my career goals I have to devote time and energy to taking risks, which is why NaNo is perfect for me. Yes, I have "real work" to do, but for NaNo I'm setting it aside. It will still be there Dec. 1, and I will probably be in a better frame of mind to tackle it. If nothing else, I will have spent a month writing with wild abandon about a topic that's obsessed me all my life and that I've never written about. In the genre I've always loved above all others.
I have planned to take time off for the holiday weekend, having learned from experience that working when kids are off and expecting attention is bound to create unhappiness all around. Besides, I need to enjoy holidays myself. So my daily NaNo goal is 2,000 words to compensate.
Pick your passion. Plan your month. Set your daily target. And prepare to write like a motherfucker as an early holiday gift to yourself.