I heard about the National Novel Writing Month competition three years ago.

At that time, I’d already been writing for years, but was also in the last stretch of home schooling my daughter; she was finishing up high school and at that stage of the game, I didn’t want to take on any responsibilities that would distract from those final days with her.

 Then last year, other family responsibilities intertwined with the two novels that I was editing and trying to get ready for submission.

And I chickened out. I didn’t feel ready, didn’t think I could actually meet the 50,000-word goal, and was not confident enough to at least try. I had this thought that if I tried and failed, somehow every agent, editor, and publishing house in America would find out and I would be placed on a permanent black list for the rest of my writing life. I didn’t think my family would see me as being the serious writer I felt I was becoming.

Mostly, I used every excuse in the book not to participate, to be honest.

I wonder how many others have used one excuse after another, cloaking them in the justification file, only to smile and feel like they’ve just let themselves down.

All of this brings me to the 2011 competition.

This year, I have zero distractions. My family is not only supportive of my writing, but I’ve got a great home office that was basically created just for me so I could have my own space. My husband is always telling people to check out my website, my daughter is always telling people about my upcoming book release. Friends text me and ask how the writing is coming along …

Not only have I made my final selection on which story I’ll be developing into my “November Novel”,  (I’ve got seven books in the making-which is probably not the way most authors do it, but I have to keep many open projects in order for my mind to run the right way), but I’ve even opened my official NaNo account. I’ve posted information on what I’m writing, contacted a few people associated with NaNo to ask a few questions–and my friends and family know I’ll be pretty much holed up in my nifty office for a month solid. They know how many times to rap on the door when offering chips and salsa.

Now that I’m geared up and so excited for the competition, I have to wonder why I was so afraid to attempt this before now.

What about all of you? Is this your first attempt – or are you an expert level participant this year? I’d be happy to hear what your plans are, how you intend to block out everything and accomplish your goal!