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It’s only twelve more days until the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo starts and you know what that means! I’m busy writing blog posts, editing stories, finishing drafts, and planning my novel in the hopes that July will be smooth sailing.

With that in mind, I’d like to share 3 reasons why I love this crazy little thing called NaNoWriMo.

  1. It Made Me Realize That I Love Writing

NaNoWriMo is something that’s been on the periphery of my consciousness since 2009, but I only actively started participating in two years ago. In 2009, I’d just graduated high school, had given up my dream to be a writer, and was at loose ends. I tried to write and failed with a puny 765 words. However, those 765 words planted a seed in my mind; a thought that perhaps I could be a writer, one day.

In 2013, I signed up once more, at loose ends and needing something to occupy my time. This time, I wrote 14,588 words. However, with moving and life, I was unable to secure a win. Last year was when I wrote Sisters of Shadow, which was 18,354 words, during my first April Camp. Then November came along and I wrote Takeover, which clocked in at 23,762 by the end of the month.

When I wrote Sisters of Shadow, a rewrite of the first story I ever gave my dad, I knew that I loved writing and that, finally, I’d found something that I wanted to do with my life.

  1. The Yardstick by Which I Judge My Progress

It’s said that professional authors write around 2,000 words a day. It just so happens that an aspiring writer has to produce 1,667 words a day to win NaNoWriMo. Although I don’t kid myself into thinking I’m a professional, that writing goal is one that I strive for every November.

While word count isn’t such a big thing in the other months (I generally live by Chuck Wendig’s No-Nonsense philosophy), I make it a priority during the NaNo events so I can see if, and how, I’m improving. NaNoWriMo is how I measure my progress on the road to being a better writer.

  1. A Goal To Shoot For

Last but not least, NaNoWriMo’s wonderful community and encouragement help me figure out my goals when it comes to writing.

This past April, I needed a win. I’d just finished reading through Takeover, realized it was no good, and gotten my first rejection letters for two other stories. I was frustrated that I just couldn’t seem to get anywhere with this writing thing. So, for Camp, I set my goal for 10,000 words and started this blog. I reasoned that if I couldn’t win this thing while having both a blog and a story to write, then I wasn’t meant to be a writer, after all.

To my great relief, not only did I win, I won with ease! I reached the the measurable goal I’d set for myself and it was a wonderful motivator. This July, I’ve decided to aim for 30,000 in order to challenge my record set by Takeover. If I win that, it’s onward to 50,000 for November.

For all of NaNoWriMo’s silliness and helter-skelter attitude, being in the competition gives me a goal that is clearly defined and rewarded. Best off all, it gives me the encouragement to keep going when I feel like giving up. In a business where the majority of goals are measurable, but temporary, that’s an awesome thing.

Do you participate in a NaNoWriMo event? Why? Share what you love (and hate) about NaNoWriMo in the comments below!