I've participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for six years now. I've completed it twice. Some years have been more successful than others. This year, I'm hoping to make it to the end, and have a substantial first draft ready for major revisions.
If you're not familiar with the event, National Novel Writing Month is an event where writers across the world all vow to write 50,000 words between November 1-30. They work to craft a complete book, a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Those who complete the 50,000 words, win. Sounds easy, but when was the last time you sat down and wrote a whole book...in one month! It's a daunting task, but a great exercise in letting creativity flow, limiting editing, and just cranking out a book. For me, it has proven to be a great tool in keeping me focused on crafting first drafts, that I then go on to rewrite, revise, and polish in the months that follow.
Here's the link to my page for anyone who is interesting in buddying-up during the event, or for those who just want to follow what I'm working on: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/michcarl
To learn more about NaNoWriMo, you can visit the website at http://www.nanowrimo.org/.