Why I love National Novel Writing Month

So it’s day seven and I’m one week in and ten thousand words down on my novel. I’m one fifth of the way finished on my word count! Break out the confetti and throw a party! Or … not. The first few days felt like torture. They always do honestly. I spent days one, two and three plodding along, barely making my word count minimums. I hated everything about the novel and I’d barely started. I hated my characters, I hated myself, I hated that I committed to doing NaNoWriMo at all. But after day four it seemed to ease up and I remembered why I do this at all.

When I started doing NaNo I was an awkward teenager. I was an avid fanfiction writer only barely discovering that my writing was not, in fact, horrible as my ninth grade English teacher had led me to believe. I didn’t win that first year. But it did teach me something. It taught me that I loved writing. Writing day after day, I slowly began to realize that it was something I could do for a living – maybe. In the years that followed, NaNo has faithfully rekindled my love of writing. Through the frustration of college apps and the chaos of freshmen year, through five classes and a broken heart NaNo was something I could depend on year after year. It was a project I concentrate on, something that drowned the other worries in my life – if only for a month.

And I found friends. Like-minded people who loved to turn a phrase and laugh at my puns. People who could understand how it was to live at Starbucks for three hours a day until your clothes began to smell like coffee. NaNo lets me know that I’m not alone in loving to write.

If you’d told ninth grade me that I would write 50,000 words in a month for any reason. I probably would have laughed at you. But here I am, working at my 50,000 every November. I learned how to schedule my time, how to kill writer’s block, how to meet a deadline.

I still might not win this year. I might curse up and down until this month is done and spend way too much money on coffee. But I’m really grateful that I have this opportunity  to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Because it’s taught me that I can do it. I can accomplish what I put my mind to. And maybe I can even have a little fun doing it.

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