I’m not a first-timer, since I did Nano last November and two Camp Nanos over the spring and summer. Therefore, I am not new at all to the feeling of being hopelessly behind in a word count goal that seemed impossible to begin with.
So if I’m not going to make my word count anyway, why am I doing Nanowrimo? Here’s why I think everyone should do it:
One of my biggest problems as a writer is not writing. I have a million story ideas, any one of which could win me the Caldecott Medal and make me as rich as J. K. Rowling. But they’re all still stuck in my head, unable to find words to turn them into those beautiful money-making items called books. It seems whenever I start writing a hundred different things I didn’t even feel like doing before pop up and seem much more fun than writing.
Nanowrimo makes you write by giving you:
a) a goal and
b) a commitment.
(And c) a lot of guilt if you don’t make the goal.)
2. It makes you prioritize writing
Mainly because it’s just for a month. “I can do *insert fun activity here* next month, but this month I need to focus on Nano.” Other things can wait, but Nano won’t.
3. It connects you with other writers
You get to meet lots of fun people while procrastinating on the Nano forums. Not that I’m condoning that, of course.
4. It teaches you to fail
Failure is important. See here. I’m sure most of us really don’t need to learn to fail since we probably spend our time doing little else (or am I the only one?), but failure can teach more lessons than success can. Sometimes learning to fail is the biggest lesson to learn from failing--learning to let go of the unattainable and unsatisfying dream of perfection and being willing to do something even if you can't do it perfectly.
5. Whatever you write is more than you had written before
Even if you only write 40,000 words, or 10,000 or 500, that’s still something written. That’s more than you had before. Maybe you didn’t make your word count goal, but if you wrote anything then you've accomplished something.
So maybe I won’t make the word count goal this month, but I’ve already written over 3,000 words in blog posts, fanfiction, and--look at that--actually writing the novel I’m supposed to be working on this month. (Please ignore the fact that 3,000 words is lamentably below the mark I’m supposed to be at right now.)