For my travelling visitors, this is the invitation to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. If you are suddenly inspired at the thought of this, you can find the details here.
Surely, those travelling people might say, it can't be that hard. Say you have a twenty-hour flight, surely you could scribble several thousand of those in one go? All those hours waiting in bus stations. Would that it were that easy.
Writers, of course, come in all shapes and sizes, and there are those who rise to the challenge of writing 1500-2000 words (useful words, so probably at least three times that many deleted) every day for a month. Which involves clearing workspace, social space and headspace for a whole month (plus the time to go on the relevant website and 'chat' to everyone else going through the whole process with you). When I'm away from home my head is full of travelling - far too involving to free up space for writing.
I am in awe of everyone who does it. That level of self-discipline is astonishing. And I'm sure that many - even if their novels ends up in the 'could do better' file - are better writers for it. All that practice must keep the internal dictionary working, and the imagination firing on all cylinders.
What possible excuse can I have for not doing it? I live alone, so don't have to work round children (who are, in the UK, at home over half term - how can you write with children tugging at your sleeve wanting you to paint/play football/take them to the park?). I've retired, so don't have half my head (or more) filled with Child Protection challenges. I'm not on another trip for another month, so don't have to bury myself in the Lonely Planets quite yet.
I don't do it - because I don't want to put that pressure on myself. Sometimes I write 1500-2000 words in a day (sometimes even more) and sometimes I don't. If the words flow I can sit at the computer till my fingers freeze. On other days it's like pulling teeth and I'm better off going out for coffee. Writing is not work for me. I knew pressure at work - and it was right that I did. We made huge decisions about children's lives, decisions that should never be made without serious soul-searching. I don't need to do that any more.
But I shall cheer those brave writers on from the sidelines. I shall think of you as I drink tea in bed in the morning, and as I raise a glass of wine when the sun goes down (well, a bit later than that - the sun does down around 5ish now). I hope each of you writes the best book you have ever written, and wake up on 1st December feeling knackered but rightly smug.
And that, I'm afraid, is the best I can do. (If anyone who is actually writing NaNoWriMo has time to read this blog, do tell us why you are doing it!)