> From: Jim Henry <[log in to unmask]>
> On Sun, Jun 14, 2009 at 1:46 AM, M.S.
> Soderquistwrote:
> > well for me. To be honest, the lousy timing of NaNoWriMo is partially to
> > blame for my "failure" there. (It's not real failure-- I've
> That puzzles me; why a 30-day month with a major holiday around which
> lots of people spend 3+ days travelling, when there are several 31-day
> months without such drawbacks?

It was originally July, but it was moved to November "to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather" ( If the weather is too nice, it's distracting. Going down the potential months, and being biased towards the Northern Hemisphere and the "Western World"/American holidays.

Jan. 31 days, the first two of which are spent by many in a drunken haze. Superficially, though, a better candidate than Nov because it has 31 days, has fewer days tied up in holidays people tend to observe through inaction, and has even more gloom. However, the whole symbolism of "a fresh start" may have been seen as too oppressive by Baty et al.; the idea was that one ought to be able to walk away from the project on the first of the next month if desired, but holding it in January would lead many to commit their entire year to completing the project.

Feb. 28 (29) days, including one "inaction" holiday (the 14th). Gloomy, but too short. :)

Mar. 31 days, gloomy, no particular holidays (in some areas, the 17th is a cause for inaction). It's a better candidate, I think, but it has the post hoc advantage of being a good time to pick up your four-month-old project, having emerged from the holiday haze, and do a major edit (

Apr. 30 days, moving into springtime. By the end of the month, the weather is usually too distracting. Go out and play, kids. Plus, in the US, there's a stressful day in the middle that causes a lot of people to spend a week or so of their free time on.

May. 31 days, but now it's summertime. Which takes us through to September, skipping Jun, Jul, and Aug.

Sep. 30 days, with a major US holiday, plus for a lot of people the distraction of settling their kids into a school year.

Oct. 31 days, ending with Halloween. Personally, I think this is also a better candidate than Nov, but it would undoubtedly lead to a spike in horror novels. ;) Plus, Nov does have the advantage in that the distracting holiday isn't the last holiday of the month. Putting it in October would mean having some portion of your contestants snubbing the candy-seeking kidlets in favor of getting that last 1000 words written.

Nov. 30 days, including what often amounts to a four-day holiday for a lot of people in the US. This is where the bias of the founder shows through, though. For a young, collegy-sort male, that four-day holiday usually amounts to half a day distracted by family gladhanding and three and a half days of eating Cheez-its and hiding from college/work responsibilities. For other people, it amounts to a lot of travel, moving from house to house so different arms of the family don't feel snubbed (especially these days, with divorce creating complex families that won't be in the same house at the same time without bloodshed), and/or three days of cooking and cleaning up. So for someone who doesn't get too tied up in Thanksgiving proper, having three-plus days to blast through missed deadlines and catch up is a wonderful situation; for someone who spends Thursday with mom's family, Friday with dad's family, Saturday with ... it's a major pain. I was in the latter
 when I've done NaNo, so I made sure to be ahead of schedule going into the Thanksgiving break.

Really, though, out of the 12 options, I think November is second- or third-best. I'd personally prefer October, which would give 30 days of solid writing, although here the bias of the "young male" may also show through, since a lot of younger folks (in the US, at least) spend several weekends in October going to Halloween parties and haunted houses.

-- Paul