I've been looking forwards to this blog post - today we're going to look at how I actually got into writing, the spectacular idea known as Nanowrimo - National Novel Writing Month.
If you're interested in writing, you may already have heard of it, and possibly have dismissed it as a waste of time. If you haven't heard of it, I'll explain what it is. The basic concept of Nanowrimo is to write a novel, from first word until last, in a month. You can come into it with notes and plans, or a blank notebook, but on the first of the month you start writing, and by the end of the month, you've got something that didn't exist before, an entire story that you have created.
Sounds great right? Well, Nanowrimo runs in November, and the recommended word count is 50,000 words. So that means that every day for a month, you have to write 1,667 words. Now, this might seem like a lot, but it doesn't end have to be. Even if you don't reach the goal, you've still created words that wouldn't have existed before.
There is a supportive forum, with groups for different genres and methods of writing. There are also places full of memes to make you laugh, and places you can ask for help if you are stuck on plots, ideas, character names, or need more information. It's a really welcoming atmosphere, and knowing all these people are writing with you is fantastic.
November might be a long time to wait though, so you can look into doing "Camp Nano", in July, which is set out as summer camp - you're put into cabins, where there are up to 12 other people (writing in your genre, of your age, those you select, or just random people) so that you can talk together. The main nano forums are also active then, if not as busy as they are in November.
There's one other special feature about Camp Nano - you can pick your own word goal, between 10,000 words, and 1,000,000 words. You can decide for yourself how many words you want to write a day, between 300 and 30,000.
So what do you write?
The short answer is anything that you would like to. The slightly longer answer is that whilst Nanowrimo was initially set up to allow you to write a novel, you could write whatever you wanted - an autobiography, a series of short stories, or whatever else you need to get down on paper.
I started Nanowrimo six years ago, and at the end of it each year, I've had a rough start. It wasn't always a good piece of writing, but it existed, and I could use it to create the basis of something better, redrafting and editing and creating something that I am actually proud of.
Best of luck with it, and good luck with writing! It's definitely a good thing to try!