November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, an annual chance for those who have always wanted to write a novel but never have to get started.

Many aspiring writers are gearing up to meet the month's goal: writing at least 50,000 words of a story. This is not an appropriate length for a novel by most publishing standards, but it's more than enough to have a decent headstart. 

Writers-to-be took have expressed enthusiasm on Twitter.

Breakfast - check. Ice coffee - check, laptop open - check. Ready set write. Go NaNoWriMo! one person tweeted.

Tweeted another: Who wants to be NaNoWriMo buddies? We'll keep each other motivated!

Some even suggested venues for writing, such as independent bookstores.

The Web site NaNoWriMo.org has several tips and guidelines for aspiring writers who want to take a shot at becoming published authors. It is even offering users pep-talk emails throughout the month from six published authors, including Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Chris Cleave (Incendiary).

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the entire Eastern Seaboard of North America starting their novels. Good luck! @NaNoWriMo tweeted. 

So what tools does a writer need?

Many published authors have different approaches to the writing craft, but each one has practical advice that can apply to all.

Romance author Nora Roberts, who has published more than 200 novels, credits her quick pace to being educated by nuns during her nine years in Catholic school.

Discipline, guilt and guilt are really really excellent tools for the writer's toolbox, she told a crowd at The Washington Post in 2009, later adding that inspiration is crap.

Forget about the muse, Roberts said. Sister Mary Responsibility kicks the muse's ass every single day.

Horror novelist Stephen King advises aspiring writers to read a lot and to write a lot.

If you don't have time to read you can't be a writer, he told Yale students in 2003. You've got to read just about everything.

Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries series, talks about outlining on her YouTube channel.

You can't just sit down and start writing your story, she said. You need to have a beginning, a middle and an end.

She has another piece of practical advice.

Sitting down and actually doing it, Cabot said. That's really what separates an amateur writer from a professional writer.

In addition to discipline and motivation, aspiring writers need solitude, noted Leo Babauta, who wrote a guest post for The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America's The Craft of Writing blog.

Creativity flourishes in solitude, he wrote. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.