Many authors are familiar with National Novel Writing Month, that 30 days in November when writers set a goal of writing a 50,000-word book. I've participated in it for several years, and two novellas, Death Sword and The Ripper's Daughter, went on to become published.
The objective of such a writing challenge isn't necessarily publication, but for a writer to keep writing, to lock away the inner editor, and get words on paper. Because, as the saying goes, you can't edit a blank page.
April and October are also two months where I participate in a writing challenge based on the Write a Book in a Month series. Unlike NaNoWriMo, there is no word length minimum and one doesn't have to write a new book. I've used those months to revise a book, but usually I try to write a new one. This year, a writer friend and I have challenged ourselves to write 2-4 new books. Since I take writing challenges seriously, I'm adamant about reaching my goal, even on days I don't want to write.
It's not always easy to get started each day. I look at my daily word count, which resets to "0" after midnight, and sometimes think, "I don't know what to write." But I start typing. Soon I have 100 words, then 200, then 500. "Keep going," I tell myself. Soon I've reached a 1,000 words. I take a break, eat, check email, then go back to the writing. The graph shows 50% of the daily goal completed, along with the overall goal. Then 60%, 75%, 100%. If events continue to unfold, I keep writing, not wanting to lose the momentum.
If I don't make my daily goal, I don't worry about it. Nor do I worry if a scene doesn't quite work, because this is a first draft. As my friend and I joke, I'll fix it in post.
Before NaNoWriMo, I was the author who never finished writing a book. Then one day, I decided I was going to write a 40,000-50,000 word novella. My goal: write without going back and editing what I'd written. I could read the previous page to refresh my memory, but no critiquing.
And I did it. True, the story needs a lot of work, and I doubt I'll ever dust it off, but I did it. When I told another author friend, she referred me to NaNoWriMo, thinking I would enjoy the challenge.
Writing a book isn't easy, but there's nothing as satisfying as watching the word count go up, until you reach the magical moment when you can type "The End." Even better? When you crawl out of your writing cave, and your SO still remembers you.