You see, I began NaNo-ing with a completed novel.
Before you send the villagers with pitchforks, tar, and feathers, let me say something in my defense. I am not the only author who uses NaNoWriMo in ways it may not have been intended.
The original purpose of the month long writing marathon was to encourage writers to complete a novel. In that sense, this time around was a fail for me. My November goal was to complete a major rewrite of a novel. I made it more than half way through, but no where near the end.
Why did I use NaNoWriMo? Why not just decide I was going to use November to do a rewrite? For the same reasons that I have participated in NaNoWriMo for the past several years.
1) Friends and family are trained. When they want my attention during November, they pause, and mutter "Oh wait. You're doing that novel thingy." People respect my writing time during NaNoWriMo. Perhaps being part of a global happening makes it more acceptable to non-writers when we closet ourselves away for marathon writing sessions.
2) Focusing on a goal for a month is manageable and concrete. Many beginning writers have a vague goal of writing a novel "some day." Without a starting point and a finish line, that "some day" often becomes never. NaNoWriMo offers the framework of specific time and word count goals.
3) Competition is human nature. Believing you are working toward a reward, even if it is just the winner's badge to display on your social media sites, may push you to write just a few minutes longer.
In years past, I have won, and I have lost. This year, I considered deliberately withholding on my word count so I would not win. Then I considered the hours and sweat that went into the rewrite. I did not meet my personal goal. I have had to push that to the end of December. I'll make it, though. Participating in NaNoWriMo has made me a writing warrior.
You don't have to wait eleven months to jump into NaNoWriMo. Many other writing events and prompts are available at: http://nanowrimo.org/