Monday, November 25, 2013

To NaNo or Not to NaNo...Haters Gonna Hate

Seems to be a lot of negativity out there about NaNoWriMo, mostly from people not doing it. Lots of folks have a lot to say about how counter it is to the 'artistic process' or how it propagates focusing on 'incorrect' goals--i.e. quantity over quality, word count over plot formation and characterization, the discouragement of brainstorming and research during the writing process. I agree that participants shouldn't beat themselves black and blue over not reaching the magical 50 thousand word goal. It's a random number and some just won't make it, which is perfectly fine. I took part this year for the first time simply to shake up the way I normally write. I had just finished a project and thought, why not? I spent October doing my research and brainstorming and was ready to go come 1st November, or at least as ready as I was going to be. The words came better than I'd expected, but I'm also used to sitting in my home office anywhere between six to nine hours a day and working on various projects. For me, NaNoWriMo was a way to challenge myself to a higher level of productivity. And I wanted to see if I could get from concept to completion in a month.

As for the naysayers, I get the distinct impression that some simply want to rain on the parade of those enjoying their NaNo experience (and, honestly, there will always be fuckers who just want to ruin good things for other people), but others seem worried that participants are taking things to an unhealthy extreme. I agree. Some are. If you don't make it to 50k, just be happy you got something out of the experience. Writing anything is a win. Period. If the challenge shook you up and got you excited to write something every day, all the better. Quantity is the first step on the road to quality. And we all work at different paces and in different ways. The important thing is to work. Lots of writers are forcing their asses into chairs and fingers onto keyboards every day for the first time ever. That's a beautiful thing. And just what the hell is 'the creative process' anyway? Isn't it different for everyone? For me, it mostly involves keeping my ass upstairs in the office where it belongs so I can write, even if I don't feel like it. Some days, I have to hold a knife to my throat just to keep going (and it's no easy feat typing with just the one hand). If NaNoWriMo helps get you into that productive groove, then more power to you. If it's not your bag, that's cool too, just don't devalue it for those getting what they want out of the process. There is no single 'right' way to complete a novel. Your way isn't the Correct way, fyi (note the capital C); it's simply the correct way for you (now note that little c). No reason to preach at those whose writing process allows for an experience like NaNoWriMo. Just keep on keeping on in your own way and let others do the same.


  1. Seriously, what's the point in saying bad things about something like NaNo? I know at this point that I'm going to fail, but I'm still glad I did it. I have over 30,000 words that I didn't have before this.

    1. Exactly! The point is to get people writing. Anything that gets those words on paper is a win in my book (haha, appropriate puns!!). And 30k in one month is amazing!