I first heard about nanowrimo some years ago when one of my students kept submitting manuscripts without contractions. Take it from me, that if you read twenty pages and there is not one contraction, you notice pretty quickly. The writing seems formal and stiff. Anyway, one night I asked why she was doing this and she said it was because she was participating in nanowrimo and needed to write 50,000 words in a month, and if she didn’t use contractions, her word count would go up. So from that I deduced that nanowrimo was for people writing awful manuscripts. However, time went on and more and more of my students began talking about it and I noticed everyone spoke about it with enthusiasm. No one had a bad thing to say about nanowrimo, and in fact, everyone seemed energized by the whole process. So I began to think about it more seriously, but I wasn’t tempted to do it because the fact is, I write a lot anyway, so I didn’t think I needed an inducement. Last year, I had an outline due on December 15 (for Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency.) I hate writing outlines. I once spent two years writing an outline and it was the only time in my life I’ve ever suffered from writer’s block. So I approached the whole thing with some trepidation and then I thought, ha! Why not write the novel, and then, when I have the novel, I can outline it. So, I signed up for nanowrimo and it worked. I wrote 50,000 words of MDDA, and I’m not going to say they were fabulous, (I probably wound up using only 15% of them) but I knew enough of the story by the end that I could write an outline. Then, once that was done, I could go back and write the book more thoughtfully. This year I wasn’t sure if I would sign up again, but as luck would have it, once again I’m working on an manuscript. I don’t need an outline, but I would like to bulk it up, quickly, and I believe this will be a great way to boost my mind into thinking of all sorts of fun plot points. So yesterday I signed up to take part in Nanowrimo 2016. I’m a veteran!