I finished National Novel Writing Month with 75,000 words of a first draft. Now I have options. Since there's more story to tell, December could be NaNoFiMo (National Novel Finishing Month) in which, despite the holidays, novelers attempt to write an additional 30,000 words. Or, I could partcipate in De-PlotWriMo - December Plot Writing Month and refine the plot arc of my first draft. Come March, there's NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) in which folks pledge to log 50 hours of editing. And, if I just can't wait until November to take another book writing challenge, I could join JulNoWriMo (July Novel Writing Month).
Fiction isn't the only genre with a NaNoWriMo type event. Want to write a screenplay? There's Script Frenzy. A picture book? National Picture Book Writing Week. The poets have RePoWriMo (National Refrigerator Poetry Writing Month) in April and NEPMo (National Epic Poetry Month) in May. And the songwriters have FAWM (February Album Writing Month) in which they attempt to write fourteen original songs in twenty-eight days.
These challenges create a structure and a supportive environment in which to set aside the inner critic and get the work done. Sure, I can slog it out at home alone in front of the computer with the faithful yellow labrador beside me, but it's more fun to be in a group of people who are all up against the same challenge. We gather on-line and in person. We toss around ideas. We grouse. We celebrate small victories. We go a little nuts.
No matter your preference, there's a writing challenge for you. I've only mentioned a few. For a complete list, go here and scroll down to "NaNoWriMo-style Events On The Horizon." Which challenge will you take?