NaNoWriMo is the short form of National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every year from November 1st to November 30th. The purpose is to help foster the habit of writing every day and to help writers get past writer's block. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel within 30 days. It's not expected to be publisher ready, but the first draft where you focus on just getting the words on the page.
It was originally started by a small group of writers in 1999 as a form of motivation. It's become a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world. In 2013, approximately 310,095 people participated.
I realize I'm a bit early in writing about this since it takes place in November, but many people who decide to participate use the month of October to get ready. Some organize their thoughts, do any research they think they may need, and to clear time in their schedules if needed to ensure they have the necessary writing time.
I have to admit, I've never participated, but have thought about doing it. What's holding me back? Up until recently I worked full time and had commitments outside of work I couldn't shirk 3 days a week. This year I'm thinking I would have the time, but I'm knee deep in revisions that I'd hoped to have finished by the end of summer. So instead of participating in NaNoWriMo, I'm focusing on revisions. I'm determined to get them completed by Thanksgiving.
If you're interested in learning more about NaNoWriMo, here's the link to their official website: National Novel Writing Month