Freelance writers spend most of their time writing, so, on the surface, it seems like NaNoWriMo might not be a useful tool. However, there are a couple of factors that make NaNoWriMo very helpful to freelance writers.
NaNoWriMo is a commitment to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That means, you’ve only got to crank out about 1,700 words a day to keep on track. In the grand scheme of things, that isn’t too many. If you’re willing to put in a couple extra hours a day, depending on your writing speed, NaNoWriMo can help you crank out a novel without slacking on your regular work. It’s not a schedule you’d want to keep up all year round, but one month is enough to help you prove a point.
Furthermore, most freelance writers aren’t writing books. NaNoWriMo offers a chance to work on a novel, which can help you expand your writing abilities (and maybe wind up with something worth selling at the end of the month). It has a concrete deadline — one of the hardest parts about writing on your own projects is that all deadlines are self-imposed, and very easy to move. It can be frustrating to work without external guidelines.
There is also a sense of community for writers doing NaNoWriMo. There are online forums and in person meetups. Your NaNoWriMo friends can keep you on track and help you feel less isolated.
I think this serves as my announcement that I plan to do NaNoWriMo this year. I’m working on an outline the next couple of days, but I think I already have a pretty solid idea.