Within the next few hours, people all over the country--nay, all over the world--will ready themselves to partake in the beast known throughout the writing world as NaNo...better known as National Novel Writing Month. The goal of NaNo's participants: write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, which breaks down to a minimum of 1,667 words a day.
Full disclosure: I've taken part in NaNo in the past. In fact, I've written a book in each of the last three NaNo's. Zombie Showdown was written at a breakneck pace of 4,000 words a day back in 2009, finishing on the 16th after two days off. Model Agent was my 2010 NaNo book, with the first 50K sliding in on the 28th or 29th. Last year, I wrote Eminent Souls. I think I made it with time to spare.
So, you're asking to yourself, what is Mr. Sweeney writing this year for NaNo.
The answer is I'm writing nothing for NaNo. I'm not taking part.
There are a few reasons for that. The first one is that I'm currently in the middle of a project entitled Redeemed. Redeemed is just a smidge over 30,000 words after 27-plus days of writing. I'm not rushing this project. If I write 1,000 words, fine. If I write 1,500, fine. On Monday, as Hurricane Sandy began to boil in Massachusetts, I wrote 300 words, and I was satisfied with that. I'm not killing myself with meeting a daily goal. What I'm trying to do with this project is quality words, not quantity--exactly the opposite of what NaNo suggests.
There's another reason: I write every day anyway. Every month of the year is, to me, NaNoWriMo. This is my job. This is what I do. I don't need a set month with which to write 50K.
If you're doing NaNo, I salute you. Good for you.
But you truly don't need to do NaNo to be a writer.