November seems like a good time to talk about the power of momentum. At this very moment, thousands of people are typing away, racking up their word counts and trying to finish a 50,000 word draft by the end of the month. It’s worth asking why, exactly, the idea of NaNoWriMo took off and became internationally popular.
There’s the community, of course, and the time-limit of the challenge (it’s bloomin’ hard work but it’s just for 30 days), but I think one of the most important reasons for its success is that it demonstrates the power of building momentum.
If you persevere past the first week, you'll find that your daily practice of 1,500 or so words begins to take on a life of its own. It transitions from a seemingly-impossible task to something achievable, something real.
By working intensively on your book every day you begin to inhabit the world of your imagination far more deeply than before. The so-called 'real' world retreats and becomes grey and insubstantial; a distraction from your characters and the all-important word count goal.
The habits you develop – of writing whenever and wherever possible – just to get those words down, free you from procrastination and doubt, and you begin to get an emotional high from seeing your word count increase so quickly.
Even if you don't manage to hit the prescribed word goals, the act of working on your book every day – pushing yourself to write more and more – builds momentum, too. Soon you find you're thinking about your story while driving, while doing the dishes, while watching TV. You wake up thinking about it and you greedily scribble a few lines while waiting for the kettle to boil.
In short, the momentum has carried you to a place of creativity and obsession. It has made you a writer.