15 Years, 15 Wins

Is it meaningless to get hyped about “winning” NaNoWriMo when you don’t really win anything?

First, managing to create at least a 50,000-word rough draft in 30 days is a win, no matter how you look at it. It means you put butt in chair 30 days in a row and wrote at least 1,667 words per day. Thirty days is plenty of time to develop a habit, and the habit of writing every day is one that will pay off for you later. Good habits are hard to develop, yes, but they’re even harder to break.

Second, look at all the peer support you get from your fellow NaNoWriMo-ers. In my region we celebrate every daily word count, every badge earned, and every win. We also get plenty of comfort and encouragement when things aren’t going well. Unlike a critique group, we celebrate every rough draft. Very affirming, and, as I have, you can make life-long writer friends.

Third, after 15 years I have enough rough drafts “lying” around to keep me busy refining and editing for years to come. And NaNoWriMo has given me the opportunity to explore secondary characters in my canon that I’d somewhat glossed over. You know, they appear when you need them and go away when you don’t. So, what do they do in between? I’ve written that.

Fourth, you do get some winner goodies when you “win” NaNoWriMo–discounts on writing software, editing software, and so forth. Not to mention the badge collection. The “badges” are essentially NFTs — non-fungible tokens — but without all the crypto-currency pitfalls. It quite the ego-booster and imposter-syndrome killer to get all the badge. Yes, we do need the stinkin’ badges!

Fifth, it’s fun. My total of 450 days of constant writing (30 days x 15 years) is plain and simple fun. Challenging yourself is daunting, but when you succeed, it’s immense fun. Why else would I do this over and over again? If it weren’t fun, I’d have stopped long ago. Now, November is a month I look forward to because I know I’m going to have fun.

I’m already looking forward to and planning NaNoWriMo 2023! See you next year.