This post is prompted by YA Highway’s newest Road Trip Wednesday question, “Are you going NaNo?” but it’s been a while coming. While I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, mostly because I’m hoping to be working on revision notes on my newest ms in November, I did do it last year, with the end result being BEHIND THE SCENES, the manuscript I currently have on submission.

Obviously having used NaNo 2011 to write the manuscript that got me my fantastic agent is going to prompt me to say it’s a worthwhile endeavor, but even if it hadn’t, I would still think it something that every writer should try once, especially if you don’t have a writing community of your own yet. Why? Here are three reasons I’m a huge NaNo fan:

1. I respond really well to deadlines. NaNo makes you set very real, finite writing goals that push you forward and may shock you with what you can achieve. And the best part is, that no one’s actually judging you – you’re doing this for you. Just don’t let that knowledge slow you down 😉

2. It’s a really good lesson in management of both time and writing structure. Any time I’m asked for writing advice, I always give the same three-word phrase: Always Write Forward. If you stop to revise during the drafting process, you’re just going to get bogged down and you’ll never get anywhere. Even if you know this intellectually, participating in NaNo forces you to put it into practice by driving home that revisions do nothing for your word count.

3. Community, community, community. How many times has having other people in similar situations helped bolster me forward? Whether it’s through Word Wars or the #amwriting/#amrevising hashtags on Twitter or a million other ways, just knowing there are buddies can make a world of difference by instituting a friendly sort of accountability, not to mention people to ask advice from and commiserate with. Plus, the organizers do a fantastic job communicating encouragement and organizing events.

So no, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I certainly haven’t discounted it for 2013!