How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Accept NaNoWriMo

Six years ago, I wrote an article about hating National Novel Writing Month, and starting every October since, like clockwork, the hate comments come pouring into that post, as new NaNoWriMo participants stumble upon my article through Google or whatever and feel the need to add their own vitriol to the pile. I even wrote another article where I looked at things in more perspective, said I saw some value in NaNoWriMo, and linked to it at the bottom of the first, but that was almost completely ignored.

So what was my problem? Why would I want to be a hater? My problem wasn't speed-writing. I even praised 24-hour-comic day in my original article, and later mentioned the 3 day novel challenge. With NaNoWriMo, though, I basically felt like the website of the (still new) writing event sent the wrong message; that it encouraged writing as a self-help tool rather than an art form, and worried about its comparisons to running a marathon. Writing fiction, I believed, is something you should do because you love it, not because you see it as a form of therapy or because you have it on some bucket list. Also, I worried about fiction becoming like poetry-- almost only read by people who write it, and thus culturally irrelevant.