by Chris Baty
Many of us have talked about writing a novel "someday." Chris Baty believes that the reason most wannabe novelists never write their novels is that they lack a deadline, without which it's too easy to put novel-writing off indefinitely. So in 1999 Baty and friends created their own deadline, which they called National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). If you sign up, you're agreeing to write 50,000 words during the month of November. That's the size of a short novel, like The Great Gatsby or Brave New World. At the end of the month, if you've made it to 50K, you're a winner - no judges read your manuscript to decide its literary merits. The point is quantity, not quality. At the end of the month, you'll have a first draft to either shred, delete, or edit to polished perfection. No Plot? No Problem! is Baty's companion book, and it's definitely got me fired up about actually sitting down and writing the novel I've been chewing on for so long.