This means you must type around 1700 words a day to stay on top of it. Regardless of how hard you try, you will fall behind, which leads to marathon days of writing. Last year, I 'won' -- which means I hit or exceeded the word count amount. I in no way finished my novel; there is still another half of the story to tell.
Last year I wrote a Gonzo, psuedo-multigenerational biography/realistic fiction. I told the story of my father and mother. I intended to bring it up to the present day through my story, however, there was much to write about that happened before my coming of age.
About half-way through the month, the book got really somber as I wrote about the decline of my mother's health. I finished with her death. If I ever wanted to pick that novel back up, it would start with a shift in focus from my father to the character based on me, and delve in to the psychology of a teenage boy suffering from intense abandonment issues.
I don't know if that will ever happen. It took a lot out of me just writing about the pain that that family endured over a six year period of physical decline. I had to do some fact checking with my father and his girlfriend, who has been a lifelong family friend. Too much, too much. All of it very real, and much like an arrow through the heart.
This year, NaNoWriMo takes a much lighter approach. I'm going to write a novel based on my life-long obsession with... food. I can recall at least 50,000 words worth of food stories. You can't start writing until November 1st. From the 7th to the 16th, I'll be in London. I see a significant challenge here. I need to be able to write 1700 words a day, on vacation, in a city that I've never been to.
Fortunately, I plan to eat a lot of food in London, so... If I write about that, I should be able to fulfill that quota. At least that's the plan for now. Last year, I found my self sitting down for serious marathon typing sessions. I had a two day run of 18,000 words (10k one day, 8k the next). If you want to get to know your computer, participate in NaNoWriMo.
I'll be blogging about this as time goes on. When November 1st hits, be ready. I'll post excerpts and what not.