I'm not doing NaNoWriMo.
I've never done NaNoWriMo.
Now that that's out of the way, the big question is BUT WHY?
Don't get me wrong, I think that NaNo is (mostly) a great idea. (I say mostly because, depending on your goals and your writing style, the "you can write a book in a month but you need to revise for the next three months" thing might not be your best bet. You do you.) I love the community that's built up around it, the support, the energy--all coming from a defined and difficult but not impossible goal. Who doesn't love goals? Who doesn't love getting encouragement and support on rough days and built-in-cheerleaders on good days?
Nobody, that's who.
So why NOT NaNo? For me--a few reasons.
1) Resisting the Shiny. Look, I love a shiny new idea as much as the next writer, but--ooh, hey, the new holiday cards are up on Tiny Prints!
Ok, let me try again. I love a shiny new idea as much as the next writer, but distractions are the bane of ever finishing anything. And I'm nearing the home stretch on a draft right now. I have probably 20k to go on it. Starting a new project now lets me set that shiny 50k goal...but it undermines my goal of finishing this project.
2) Related, I love this project. A lot. ALOT. In the immortal words of Hyperbole and a Half:
so I'm not really interested in taking a break from it right now. This project is my Alot, and I care about it. A lot.
3) Honestly? While it would be fun to try the NaNo 50K in a month method, it's really not my style. (Ducks.)
Not that styles can't (and shouldn't) be challenged--they can (and should). It would be a good learning experience. But I can say fairly confidently that my writing style is more hiking the Appalachian Trail than sprinting or even marathoning. Slow and steady. Frankly, less shitty drafts up front. I KNOW. Write shitty first drafts is the most freeing writing mantra ever, unless you're me and you want to write relatively cohesive first drafts and can do so by taking a different route.
I did Camp NaNo this summer, and enjoyed that. I met my goals, started the project I'm finishing now (this included a long break in the middle while I did some revisions on another project), and loved the community.
4) The novelty of finishing a draft has...well...kinda worn off. "Winning" NaNo is a first step. It means you have a draft, a start, that you can do it. And it's awesome. But I've done it. A few times. Not in a month, and not with the celebration of a great community alongside me. Still...I think it's fair to say that I know the feeling of finishing a first draft, I love the feeling, I pop a bottle of Champagne every time (ok, I crack a bottle of Malbec, let's not split hairs here)--but I don't feel the need to chase it or accelerate it any more.
So if you're NaNo-ing--good luck! Enjoy! Seize the day and write through the night! Make this YOUR year!
And if you're not? Keep writing, just like you always do.