A short two years ago, I too was asking, "What the heck is that?". Well, "NaNoWriMo" stands for National Novel-Writing Month. It started in the United States, but unlike so many of their compatriots, they wanted to share this great idea with the world, so perhaps it should be renamed InNoWriMo (you can guess why).
On the first of November all over the world, writers begin writing a novel (of minimum 50 000 words) that they have to finish on or before the 30th November. I have never been really interested before, mainly because I thought that that was no way to write a novel. Maturity has brought reason, however, or perhaps just the bitter realisation that I can never carry my novels further than their opening descriptions because I am a complete perfectionist (read: "egotistical coward").
I am terrified to write something, my brain goes into a freeze and won't come up with more than a striking opening image or situation. I write a page or so, feel dreadfully proud at the quality of my own writing, and begin to dream dreams of writing a truly brilliant novel. Then I read it the next day and realise it is trite and the images are cliched. I fiddle with what I have, I wrack my brains for some more plot, squirm at my inadequate direct speech and then, ooh, what's that? A movie that I haven't seen for at least a week. I had better watch that, get some inspiration.
Needless to say, my novels never develop to anything more complex than a sapling.
I procrastinated (a little) before starting this evening, but I wrote the required 1666 words without the wave of crushing inadequacy I usually feel hovering above my head. It's really late now, which will come back to bite me tomorrow, but for now, I feel just the teeniest stirrings of something like euphoria. I have begun.