NaNoThankYou (repost)

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In only 1 more day, thousands of writers across the globe will be mopping their brows, nursing their keyboard-burnt fingers, and collapsing into piles of first draft pages. That’s right – NaNoWriMo is almost complete. Three cheers to all those who faced the challenge!

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write as close to 50,000 words as you can between November 1st and 30th.

I personally don’t participate, but I get asked a lot if I do, so I thought I’d write a post explaining why. This isn’t to knock the NaNo’ers, just to provide my own perspective.

NaNoWriMo is about two things, and two things only: speed and word count. How fast and how much can you produce? These two things are not the most valuable aspects of writing to me, and fixating on them kills a lot of what I find more important.

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Telling a story, for me, is as much about the experience as the result. I write to get to know characters, immerse myself in a world. I write for the fun of brainstorming, the satisfaction of mining a great phrase. I’m sure other authors feel that way too, the other 11 months out of the year. But for me, 50k rushed words aren’t likely to be words I’ll care about, so there’s little point in my mind. If I’m starting a brand-new story (which a lot of people do for NaNo), I want to give it the freedom to evolve and discover itself. I can’t do that if I’m race-race-racing to the finish. That sounds distinctly not-fun to me.

I’m not bashing NaNo for others! The motivations behind it make sense. It probably works wonders for people who tend to halt themselves with perfectionism or procrastination. Those who are intimidated by the time required to pen a novel can get themselves over the hump by pushing the first draft out of the way fast. And for others maybe it’s just fun to challenge themselves in this (forgive the pun) novel way.😛

All good reasons. It’s just simply NaNotForMe.

Tell me, do you participate? What are your feelings on the practice? Or, if you read this post last year, have your feelings changed?

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14 thoughts on “NaNoThankYou (repost)

    • I think I’d probably end up with the same! Did you feel a sense of satisfaction or victory or anything like that at having finished, even though it was unusuable? Or was it just plain frustrating? I’m sorry you’re in a writing slump at the moment. 😦 Do you know what’s causing it?

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      • Plain frustrating. I was trying to finish my Other Novel off, and all I got was a series of disjointed and inconsistent plot fragments, which didn’t help all that much. I daresay some of it can be mined for future use, though. My current deadlock is mainly down to lack of motivation … I need somebody to kick my arse and/or encourage me.

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    • Haha, well I think for the people who do NaNo, that’s actually the point – to get out of slaving away over something. But if you enjoy the time you spend on a poem, then keep at it! I enjoy the time I spend fine-tuning a piece as well. We should all do what works for us.

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  1. I remember this from last year. I still don’t think NaNo is for me – maybe one day when I don’t have kids or marathon training! Your reasons, as always, are well thought out and considered 🙂

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    • I can’t imagine a world in which I’d ever try NaNo, haha, even if I had scores of free time, just because it goes against everything I value about writing. And sounds so un-fun! Maybe I’d do it if I wanted to challenge myself in a really intense way? But I think I’d find other ways to do that.

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      • When I said “maybe” I was clearly implying never, ever, ever 🙂 Having a constant deadline might not be the worst thing for me but I do agree that it sounds like it sucks the fun out of what we do for fun!

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  2. Well I’ve stumbled upon this appropriately late as November has long since disappeared into the rearview. Nonetheless, it was a good read and I couldn’t agree more.

    I’m actually a fast writer (I wrote my current novel in 4 months, averaging 30k words a month), but I’m not interested in freling the pressure to write for a contest. That pace was fast, but it’s just a good, natural pace for me.

    Like you said, though, not to nock NaNo. It does great things for many people, and it’s always fun to watch.

    I snorted pretty good at the “NaNotForMe” line. That was funny!

    Anyway, NaNo16 is complete. Here’s to NaNo17, which I’m we’ll both watch, again, from the sidelines.

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      • I sat down each afternoon / evening and wrote for as long as I could. Generally I’d pick up dinner on the way to the library, then take a snack in with me. I’d write about 3-5 hours per night. Repeat for 5-6 days a week for 4 months, and boom, here we are.

        What about you, what’s your routine?

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