Although I've been working on Ruby Ransome and Pandora's Box off and on for a few months (and conceived of the idea last November), I decided to work on it during NaNoWriMo this year. Although it's not really true to the rules, I've worked on novels-in-progress during NaNoWriMo before. For NaNoWriMo's purposes, I'll only count word count added during November — there will just be a second number, overall word count, that I'll keep tabs on as well.
For those of you who don't already know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of one) all in the month of November. That works out to 1,667 words per day — a challenging pace to keep up when faced with weekends, holidays, work, and family obligations. You're allowed to outline, research, write character sketches, etc. before NaNo starts, but you're not supposed to start writing until the stroke of midnight on Halloween.
While it might not seem sporting to work on a novel I've already started, I view NaNoWriMo as a tool to help me stay focused. I figure 50,000 words in November is 50,000 words in November, regardless of whether additional, non-NaNo words exist. I do it because (even though I haven't achieved that elusive number for the past few years) I find that working on a novel with a bunch of other NaNo participants — doing meet-ups, write-ins, and meeting new writing buddies — helps motivate me to keep going.
I've set up my author and novel profiles on NaNoWriMo.org — click here to see my NaNoWriMo profile, or just click on the NaNoWriMo badge in the sidebar. I haven't decided yet whether I'll include an excerpt from the novel in my profile, but if I do, it'll probably be the prologue.
I'm planning on attending the kickoff party this year, especially since it sounds like it will be held very near me, at my favorite 24-hour coffee shop and used bookstore. Last year's kickoff party was great fun — I got to see some old friends (people I only ever see in November), and it's fun to stay up writing until the wee hours of the morning. I can't wait!