For the last few years, I've attempted to do NaNoWriMo, which basically means I've driven myself crazy trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I've "won" three times so far, so I've decided to up the ante and try to tackle Camp NaNoWriMo this year.
For those of you who've never encountered this, NaNoWriMo happens every November. A large community builds up around the NaNoWriMo website, and in individual writing groups as everyone tries to encourage each other to make their word counts for the day and win. The years I've won have been years in which I had a good group of people also attempting NaNo, and set times to meet with them to write. That last part was critical, as it gave us a chance to bounce ideas off of each other and talk our way through sticking points. While writing is, in general, a solitary activity, it can certainly benefit from having other people around who are also engaging in the same activity.
Camp NaNoWriMo is essentially the same idea - it just takes place in April and July instead of November. I'm getting my outlines together for April, which is what brought this to mind. Fortunately, a couple of members of my work writing group will be participating as well, which will help the process.
One of the things that I enjoy most about NaNo is that it gets me in the habit of writing every day. Giving myself a deadline has always been one of the better ways to make myself productive, and working with other people who will hold me accountable to those deadlines works even better. Essentially, I'm driven by panic and guilt, and NaNo helps me harness these forces for good - or at least, for writing.
If any of you are interested in participating and would like to get a friend on the site, my user name is setauuta. And best of luck!