Five reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo this year

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Oh my gosh, Jen.  Will you stop trying to bludgeon people into tackling National Novel Writing Month?

No.  No, I won’t.  Because it’s awesome, and it can make you feel awesome.  And since my blog posts will likely taper off during the next four weeks or so, I thought I’d take one last opportunity to recruit as many intrepid souls as possible to this noble cause.  Here’s a short list of why I do NaNoWriMo, and why I think you should sign up for this 50,000 words in 30 days adventure.

Someone has to eat all that leftover Halloween candy

Is your girlfriend complaining about the temptation of all those stray fun-size Snickers?  Are you worried about your kids’ A1C1 testing a little too high?  Be the hero they always thought you could be and put those simple sugars to good use.  Starburst and Twix make the optimal fuel for some quality midnight noveling madness.  Few of us would hit our 1,667 words a day without a steady intake of Twizzlers.  Extra motivation?  If you don’t write quickly, you’ll be forced to subsist on nothing more than rejected Good ‘n Plenty.  Gross.

It’s like a great vacation without shelling out for the hotel

Let’s face it.  If you live in most of the United States, there’s nothing much in November worth sticking around for.  The coats come out, the leaves go brown, the frost creeps up your car windows, and you start tripping over boxes of stuffing mix and foil roasting pans every time you sneak into the pantry for another Three Musketeers.

Thanksgiving may be a great holiday, but I guarantee that three and a half weeks of locking yourself in your room and getting totally lost in your own imaginary world will be a welcome break – for both you and your loved ones, who are probably pretty sick of having to deal with you throughout the rest of the year – before you have to settle down at the table with the in-laws.

The people are crazy, and that’s how we like ‘em

Writers are funny people.  They’ll whine and moan about being forced to sit their butts down and do what they keep saying they love, and then they’ll whine and moan when real life gets in the way.  They’ll build fantastic universes rich with deeply detailed cultures and fraught with peril, heroism, and heartbreak, but if you ask what they’re typing, they’ll stare at you blankly and grunt something about “stuff.”

But when these walking contradictions get together en masse, something wonderful happens.  The sheer weight of creative genius pries them open, and they start to share, collaborate, encourage, and cheer each other on as if Amazon sales rankings no longer exist.  The NaNoWriMo community is amazing, and the free pep talks, local events, and international connections are worth twice what you’d have to pay to attend a writer’s conference half as big at any other time during the year.

Even if you don’t win, you still win

You know that old chestnut about how taking part is just as good as winning?  Well, it isn’t.  But it’s still pretty rewarding, especially when you’re only competing against yourself.  Sure, you might lose momentum half way through when the doubts set in.  Sure, the holiday may throw you off track at 47,000 words.  But even if you only write 500 words the whole month, that’s 500 words you didn’t have on October 31.  There’s no way to lose NaNoWriMo except not to play.

Why not?

So why not give it a try?  Because you’re too busy?  You’ve got work or school or both?  Bollocks.  Take a look at the number of college students participating – take a look at the number of elementary school kids in the Young Writer’s Program – and think again.  I’m not one of those people who believe you’ve got to put writing above everything else in your life if you ever want to see your work on a shelf, but sometimes a little kick in the pants is exactly what you need to realize your full potential.

Take a month.  Take a chance.  Lock up your inner editor and open up a Word doc, because November is coming up quickly.  Are you going to write a novel in the next thirty days?  Why the hell not?

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