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.
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?