Yes, it’s that magical time of the year. That time when the leaves turn, the air grows crisp, and everything suddenly tastes like pumpkin spice.

Also, National Novel Writing Month.

The first time I learned about NaNo, I was skeptical. 50,000 words is a lot for one month. Also, most of what I write ends up a good deal longer than that, so I knew I wouldn’t *really* have a completed novel at the end unless I pushed way past the minimum word count.

Now, diving into NaNo for the third time, I guess you could say my doubts have been assuaged. Here’s a few reasons why I think NaNo is a great resource.

1. The community. I don’t think this can be overstated. Writing is a solitary pursuit. Conferences are expensive and good writing groups are hard to find. But for one month you can join with thousands of other writers who share the crazy plan of finishing a draft in a month.

2. The graph. This might sound weird, but I’ve found the little bar graph on the official NaNo site is a great way to keep me motivated. Maybe my brain’s just tuned to a gamified world, but sometimes the urge get those little bars up is just what I need push me through another couple hundred words at the end of the day.

3. The rules are meant to be broken. NaNo comes with a lot of rules. Don’t start before Nov 1st. Write every day. Don’t revise. But really, the only one who gets to decide which rules to follow, is you. I tend to start early, and I always end up doing revisions as I go. Revisions keep the earlier parts of my book fresh in my mind, and starting early means I’m actually pushing to reach the end of my story by Nov 30th rather than some arbitrary word limit.