For the past few weeks I have felt the need to justify my excitement about NaNoWriMo this year. Part of this is due to the recruiting I have tried to do and part is because I recently thought about how different my life is this year compared to last year. Those of you who know me will acknowledge that I can be a ball of complete eagerness pretty frequently, but in this case I have legitimate, heartfelt reasons why participating in NaNo is important to me. So I decided to make a list of why this November shindig matters. And since it is my turn to blog, you get to read it. Aren’t you lucky??
1) The people. Seriously, you are all amazing. I have made some of the coolest friends ever through this whole shenanigan and cannot believe that a year ago at this time I did not know any of you at all. It’s scary, in a way, to think that getting involved brought me such strong friendships with people I most likely would have never met. Along with that is the community we have created- I know for a fact that those of us who were involved last year intend to draw others in this year. Hopefully that will grow each year until we are an unstoppable Army of Awesomeness.
2) The ability to be bad at something. I am, admittedly, not a detail oriented person. At. All. Not even a little. Things that some people do out of habit take me a long time since I have to direct all my spastic energy towards them. NaNo allows you to write without worrying about detail. You have this opportunity to be creative with no limits. This is your excuse to be whatever you can be for the sake of art and creative expression. It’s like on “The Magic Schoolbus,” when Miss Frizzle always says “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” THAT is what NaNoWriMo is about. We have to make mistakes before we can turn them in to something really magical.
3) The chance to do something amazing. How many people can say they wrote a novel? Granted you may not admit that the novel was something you flew through in a caffeine induced state after getting less than 2 hours of sleep each night, but still. It’s bragging rights and the opportunity to accomplish something that many people say they want to do but never take a chance on. I know that writing is not for everyone, but some people get that flicker in their eyes when you talk about finishing your first novel or starting on a new story. Those are the people that need NaNo so they can see just how attainable this goal truly is.
4) A way out. Everyone needs some kind of creative release or stress relief. Many of us choose to lose ourselves in a good book, but there is something even more awesome about getting lost in a world you are creating. It’s an escape that involves no money, risk, or danger (though murdering your characters does tap in to those sadistic urges so you should be careful.) NaNo brought me to a place where I was able to get out of my own way and just enjoy creating.
5) Pure Enjoyment. Think about the last time you honestly enjoyed writing something. Maybe it was an email to a person you could not wait to type. Maybe you got to write a note to a friend after they did something kind for you. Maybe it was a post-it note with "I love you" scrawled in ink that was tucked in to your child's lunch box or husband's coat pocket. What makes NaNo so much more enjoyable is that you not only have your own happiness in working through a project but you get to live vicariously through other people’s enjoyment. Last year I had more fun rooting for others as they finished than I did completing my own novel. The heart and energy that goes into this project inspires me to continue to grow.
So, what are you waiting for? Go to nanowrimo.org and sign up. Try it out. Get involved. What can you lose? Some time, possibly a little sanity, and a few bucks between Starbucks write-ins and donations to the local region... but you will gain so much more in personal satisfaction.