Ten reasons I'm jumping into the NaNoWriMo challenge this year

This feels like the appropriate place for me to tell you that after writing 3799 words on the first day, I realized NaNoWriMo was not, in fact, something I had any interest whatsoever in doing in 2010. You can read all about it over here.

NaNo what? Yea, that's what I said the first time I read it, too. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it's turned into this tradition, this movement, this... Evidence That Mental Illness Is Alive And Well! However you describe it, it's just what it sounds like: a month in which people write a novel. Yes. I said write. a. novel. A whole novel. Of course maybe it's a novella, really, if you're a stickler for things like word count. Still, that's the goal: this November, as in Novembers past, thousands upon thousands of people will be sitting down with the commitment of writing a 50,000 word novel... before the month ends.

Why on earth would I take on such a challenge? I've come up with 10 reasons for the curious:

  1. I've always thought I'd like to do it one day (and it's now made it onto the nearly-complete Life List I've been talking about for the last week or so,) so why not just get started now?
  2. My friends are evil. And one of them conned me into going to an interest meeting about NaNoWriMo... just to support her own interest, as someone who's recently decided to consider the challenge herself. I'm a supportive friend. As she knows. She also knows what a sucker I am.
  3. Sponsored by the High Point Library and the NC Writers' Network, the meeting was so interesting, and the people from both groups so nice, that I got sucked in.
  4. I've been looking for a way to kick start my writing again. On Monday I mentioned that it had been a while since I worked on my novel. I was still on the fence about this idea as I was writing that. But I figure once I've committed to a challenge of this magnitude, going ahead and finishing the little ole novel I started more than a whole year ago will pretty much be a piece of cake. Right?
  5. It's a huge challenge. HYOOGE! And? I've been looking for some new personal challenges lately, shaking things up instead of doing things the way I always have. Perfect timing, no?
  6. Can you imagine the feeling of accomplishment if you were to succeed at writing 50,000 words in a month? I'd love to feel that!
  7. The whole business is set up with the understanding that it's okay to not write perfect prose. Here writers are encouraged, now more than ever before, to turn off their inner critics, banish the editor, and just let the words flow. I need a healthy dose of that.
  8. I've never met anyone, in person, who's done it before. This year, I know at least 3 other writers who are taking the challenge - two living right here in the area. How cool is that?
  9. For the sense of community. I like being part of something that feels important. Connecting with others on a similar journey appeals to me.

And the tenth reason is lifted from a page of the website itself. I love the way they worded this, so I'll add their quote here:

"The other reason we do NaNoWriMo is because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that."

I want to make big, messy art. I want to have creation do bizarre, wonderful things to me. I want to change - and expand - my sense of self. Turns out I sort of have to do NaNoWriMo, don't I?

There's a lot more about NaNoWriMo that I haven't even begun to understand, much less explain here. I suspect that throughout November it's likely I'll have a lot more to say on the subject. But for now, if you're curious, go check out their site. It's easy to find yourself around and locate answers to your questions.

Meanwhile, I'd love to hear from others who are taking on this challenge. Are you one of them? Why are you doing it? Is this your first time, or were there others? Any advice based on your experience? We'd love to hear it!