I've been trying to take part in National November Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) this year. I think it's fair to say the results are mixed.
The biggest discouragement for me is that the length you're meant to have written is fixed at 50,000 words in the month; or 1666 words per day. That's the standard measurement of the modern novel, in case you haven't been subscribed to Proceedings Of Writers With Eighty-Column Minds recently. Now, those who know that my current project is called 10x10x100 will be able to guess that my word count is actually going to be somewhere in the region of 10,000. Even with the many thousands of preparation I've already written, I'll never make 50,000 by the end. So what use is the website, and its community, to me; while all the time I'll have a discouraging tally glaring at me from my profile?
But more generally I've found the procedure fairly disheartening. Obviously the whole point of setting some kind of limit is that I'm meant to have all of this written by the end of the month and feel spurred on when I'm getting behind; but after an initial spurt, and two more scattered evenings of work, I've frankly ground to a halt. Which would be fine, except the artificial deadline of NaNoWriMo makes me feel like at 2000 words instead of the 4200 I wanted to have written by day 14, I've already fallen far too far behind and really ought to give up. The whole thing feels like working at a steady and unceasing pace I'm just not interested in, that my timetable simply cannot support.
Maybe if I weren't working towards such a fixed- and low-quantity, and fixed- and formalized-quality, goal; maybe if I had more time in November, and I never have spare time in November; maybe if I weren't sidetracked by a visit from my parents, my grandfather's birthday and the encroachment of the Christmas season, which I genuinely and wholeheartedly adore; maybe then I'd enjoy NaNoWriMo more. As it is, it's got me wishing for December even more than usual.