thoughts on NaNoWriMo

I wrote a similar post on another blog. I’ve taken a few minutes to sort my thoughts on the matter.

I love the idea of NaNoWriMo. I also love the idea that the No could be Novel or November. Pretty sweet. I further love the idea that it’s an individual’s practice and not a groupthink effort.

So I’m going to sound like a dick for a second.

I’ve never practiced nanowrimo because it’s pointless for me. Totally, wholly, entirely pointless.

This year I decided to try it because some FB friends were doing it and wanted me to do it with them. Sadly, after I agreed, I realized this defeats the point of nanowrimo–the point being to write the F out of a novel for a full month, contemporaries be damned, for the sole purpose of accomplishment.

So the first day I wrote 8k. Second day I wrote another 4k. Then I started feeling bad, because all these serious, focused people who have previously lived successful lives as construction workers, clothing designers, physicists, etc., want to delve into the fathomless abyss of writing by practicing this… exercise. I posted my first day’s word count because of the underlying need for connectivity, and of course I felt a little proud of myself. Then I stopped because I realized I could be the one that actually dissuades his (2) other friends from finishing the exercise because, duh, it’s about the individual learning to sit. And. Write.

I’m not backing out of NaNoWriMo. I’m just not talking about it until the 30th of November. I won’t say when my novel is finished. I won’t tell those friends how much I’ve written. I’m essentially bowing out of talking of it.

Also, on another note, nanowrimo.org is a strange place. First the project is about the individual writing while minimizing distraction. The site is literally the opposite. The project is not about collecting e-cards and playing dice with other bored writers. It’s not about hanging around on the forums and chatting about writing and plot and setting and characters. It’s about writing. I feel the project’s roots started as a way to slap a person in the face and say DO IT. NOW. TOUCH KEYS AND TYPE.

Anyone serious about writing won’t use this site. I hate to say it, but perusing the site where the “founders” advertise books you can buy to help you write better all the while saying “I’m a bestseller because lotso people bought my self-published ‘You Can Write Better In November’ book, and You can Be One Too” left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Of course you’re a bestseller. You’re offering classes on getting wealthy through candy sales, while selling candy to get wealthy.

It’s like, I don’t know, being the founder of National Purple Card Day and saying, on that day, you sold a million Purple Cards as an example of what everyone else with Purple Card interests can achieve. It’s almost Ponzi.

Too commercial. Too pointless. The site is up to motivate people to write–I guess–but its goal is to make money for the site’s founders. Understood. More power to them. Tarnishing something wholesome by the warped endgame of the American Dream. Understood.

My advice: write. Screw the founders. Screw the bestellers, the Scrivener advertisements, the forums on how to develop plot. Screw your cocky overachieving friends (like me). Do it. It’s not a race. It’s not a damned punch bowl gathering. Join writing groups on your own time, separate from the project. Study plot development, character development, etc on your own time, separate from the project. If you want. Or tell your story as is.

Do the project. This is to me a perfect representation of lethargy. Do the project. This is as simple as baking a cake. You don’t need to go to HowToBakeCakes.org, join a forum, then study all the types of sugar, eggs, and flour you could use to bake a cake, buy books on baking cakes, then mark your cakebaking progress until you–whew–finish that perfect cake. I mean, you can. Your choice. Your perogative. If you’re serious about it, though, bake cakes. Fail at them. Fail miserably. Succeed wildly but never let those cakes taste another person’s mouth. Perfect your cakes until one day you’re at a special occasion and you reveal that cake you spent ten years perfecting and revel in the joy of seeing all those happy, plump-cheeked faces.

Or screw around and convince yourself that, truly, you perfect your cake baking skills by reading and buying and talking and collecting.

Maybe it’s just me.

 

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7 thoughts on “thoughts on NaNoWriMo

  1. This blog stopped on my feed at ‘So I’m going to sound like a dick for a second’ and I just had to hit ‘read more.’ I agree with everything you said. It’s easier for me to write on my own time. Plus, when it feels like a race, my writing always sucks.

    • Haha for once the “read more” button actually worked.

      I’m the same way. Forcing myself to write as much as possible in a single sitting destroys any bit of creativity I had for the piece, and including others in my writing project only heightens my need to “win.”

      It’s my competitive nature, I guess.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I agree – I think you’ve nailed it. I actually worry about the example being set by ‘Nanowrimo’ with its emphasis on word-count-to-time. Writing is about quality content (sometimes to-time if you have a deadline). The word count is a guide to planned length and hence structure and pace. Publishers use it to commission books, because their costs flow from the scale. But it’s not an end in itself.

    I think, though, that it does serve to get people writing who might not otherwise do it, and that’s certainly got its plus side.

    • I agree with the idea behind the exercise: breaking the pattern of “I’ll do it tomorrow” is a huge step for many. If it works, excellent, but in the end it’s only an exercise.

      The opposite effect is also true–I know too many who become discouraged because they “can’t even sit down and write a novel in a month.”

      Thank you for stopping by.

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