It's nearing that time of year again: cardigan sweaters, Halloween, and most importantly—NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, takes place every November and, as the website claims, "is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30."

If you've ever considered writing a novel, this is the time to do it. Seriously. It may seem impossible to write an entire novel in 30 days [although, trust me, 50,000 words is a very short novel], but it's done by thousands of people every year. It's important to remember that the goal of NaNoWriMo is to WRITE. Now, when we've got more than a month to go, is the time to plan, to create characters, to start mapping out a plot. Now is the time to start figuring out what you want to write. That way when you sit down at 12:01 a.m. on November 1 [as I have a tendency to do] you'll actually have some words to put down on paper.

This will be my 6th year participating in NaNoWriMo. My novel, Legacy, was written in approximately 3 weeks during NaNoWriMo 2009. Throughout the following months, I penned 3 sequels, and finally finished the 5th and final novel in the Bloodline series during NaNoWriMo 2010. Although I managed to write each novel in a 3-4 week period, I've spend MONTHS editing, sometimes reading through a manuscript a dozen times or more.

There's definite controversy in writing a novel in such a short period of time, and the reasoning behind it is very legitimate. Most writers' first novels need a lot of work before publishing is ever a possibility. And some writers' first novels need a ton of work before publishing is ever a possibility. The thing to remember is that your goal isn't to write a publishable novel—it's to write a novel. Period. You'll have the next 11 months before NaNoWriMo comes around again to edit the heck out of your manuscript. And you'll probably need to, because it's very rare that a writer is capable of creating a perfect first draft. [If such a writer exists, I'd beg to argue that he or she is camped out somewhere with Bigfoot and Chupacabra.]

I've been so drained over the past several months editing Legends, Book Two in the Bloodline series, and writing my mini-anthology, Bloodline: Lost Archives, that I wasn't sure I had it in me to write a novel this November. But NaNoWriMo is like one of those friends you don't get to see too often, but when you do, you realize how much you truly love them. Besides, how can I call myself a writer and NOT take advantage of such a great opportunity? Thanks to a dream I had a couple weeks back, I'll be spending my November penning a novel about zombies—and there's a twist that I've never seen in any zombie story before that should get me at least 3 books out of the deal. If you want to know more, you'll have to visit my NaNoWriMo page in approximately 6 weeks and look for an excerpt. Until then, I've got characters to create and a plot to formulate. My only regret about NaNoWriMo this year? I work on November 1...