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Why NaNoWriMo is a Fandom

At 4am on Saturday morning I was woken up by my phone vibrating ’cause the battery was fully charged. I glanced at the screen to see I had a new email. I was awake enough to open it and was delighted to find an email to MLs giving various ML-y details.

It also said that there was new merchandise in the store.

I was actually excited enough to get up, turn on my netbook and go to the NaNoWriMo website to see what the new merchandise looked like. I’m already eyeing up the thermos and I really need a new NaNoWriMo hoodie to replace the one I have, as it’s getting faded from washing and has a hole in the sleeve.

NaNoWriMo is 14 years old this year and when I was up at 4am checking out the online store, it occurred to me just how much like a fandom is it. It even has a cult following.

I am a member of several fandoms – Doctor Who, Joss Whedon, Supernatural and Tim Burton to name a few. And I own merchandise from all those fandoms (with the exception of Supernatural which I only got into in August. Although I do own seasons one and two on DVD. Is that merchandise?) Fandoms make me squeal. There are certain times of year you look forward to if you’re a member of a fandom – the new series coming out, conventions, the new movie etc.

And like any fangirl cult follower, I love the time of year when the new merchandise is released. Even if I don’t buy anything, I love pretending that I could afford it and the excitement of having it.

‘Cause if you’re a fan of something, don’t you just love owning that item with the logo on it?

I currently own the following NaNoWriMo merchandise:
– 1 pen
– 1 notebook
– 1 hoodie
– 2 t-shirts
– 2 posters

I also donate to keep the focus of my fangirling running. The company running NaNoWriMo ‘The Office of Letters and Light’ is a non-profit, so donations keep it alive! I usually donate $10 a year, as it’s all I can afford. But not this year! This year I celebrate my 10th NaNoVersary with a $100 donation! Why? Because of this comment that I made on the Job Hunting thread in the 20’s Forum last year:

On December 19th 2011, I was given a job. It was a temp job until May. In April, I was asked to extend the job until September and move to a different department who needed a temp over the summer. And in August, I was offered a one year permanent contract in a third department. I accepted.

I’m just superstitious enough to keep my pledge. And so I will be donating when the new website launches. Why don’t I donate now? For the entirely selfish reason that I want my golden halo! What’s a golden halo? This is a golden halo. It’s what you get on your profile picture if you donate for that season:

(Yes, that’s Hatter. Another fandom.)

Every year I look forward to the end of September because of NaNoWriMo. Not just for the new merchandise. September is when the site is wiped and re-launched, when the new season is officially open for business and when everyone floods back to the forums, bringing a lot of new faces with them.

NaNoWriMo is almost the fandom I’ve obsessed over for the longest. It’s piped to the post by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here’s to many more years.

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