NaNoWriMo

on Sunday, October 10, 2010
Here's a confession: I've always thought NaNoWriMo was stupid. I have literally no idea why the idea makes me so jaded. I didn't even know the damn thing existed until two years ago when somebody was like, "Hey! It's finish writing your novel month! ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?!" At first I thought this was just some guy wanting me to finish my book (which it kind of was), but then I found out it was a real deal. Huh.

Let us now dive deep into the mind of Nathan Major, and try to find out why he thinks NaNoWriMo is stupid. Since I haven't really dug down to find whatever is spawning this deep-rooted contention, this might prove interesting. Especially since all my initial thoughts only produce positive correlations with the idea, but I still roll my eyes whenever anybody mentions NaNoWriMo. Hmm.


I think the first thing that bugs me is the fact that people do it and write something terrible. Now, I know this isn't fair at all to anybody. My first few books weren't great, and I honestly am a bit shamed that I touted them around as something halfway decent. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that has something to do with it. A lot of people, after writing their 50K, decide they are "real writers" now. They shove that thing everywhere like it's God's gift to literacy, when actually it's just some crappy thing you wrote in a month because everybody else was doing it. I don't want to read that. 

That kind of leads to what also might have me so jaded: everybody is doing it. Now, I'm willing to bet it has a fairly low % turnaround for people who actually complete their novels. I'd say 5% at the very best out of everybody who decides to try it. But, for me, knowing everybody else is going to write a book in the month kind of...cheapens it if I do it. I'm no longer being unique or special (Steelgod September, anybody?), I'm just doing it because it's a cool thing to do. I don't think of myself as non-conformist very often (I shop at freaking American Eagle, Aeropostal, and Apple Computers for crying out loud), but doing NaNoWriMo really seems forced. 

Actually, that might tie in to what is really, really the reason I hate NaNoWriMo. It's the same reason why I think "Black History Month" or "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" is so stupid: why can't we be aware of black history or breast cancer all the time? Shouldn't we be? Are we really so stupid we have to be reminded in order to get anything done, and then forced to have an entire month designated to that? NaNoWriMo is like that to me. It's something that, if you really were serious about writing, you should be writing or editing every day anyway. You shouldn't need to have some fabricated, titled month force you to write. If you have a great idea, write it now. I've heard people say they are "waiting for NaNoWriMo" to write something. Why the crap are you waiting? Freaking write that now! And don't tell me you are busy; I'll bet you money everybody has at least an hour a day to themselves. Get your butt off the couch where you are watching Sex and the City for the eighteenth time, and just do it. Don't make someone else make you.

Lastly, usually after NaNoWriMo, people just stop. They decide they are done; they've written a book! They'll write another next November. Again, stupid. If you really care about this, write frequently. Nobody got good writing one book a year. In fact, some people don't get good writing three books a year. Trust me. It takes a lot of practice. If you just write a 50k book every November, the quality will never improve. It'll just be crap forever. 

So there you have it. It still makes no sense. NaNoWriMo has tons of perks. It forces new-writers or those who have problems starting or trapped in outlining write. It gives people a finished thing to show off. Once you write one book, it is exceptionally easier to write more. It provides a community that will support and give feedback and force you to keep pumping out the words. It could also (for some of us) let you know that writing just isn't your thing; you aren't cut out for it. Look at how many good things there are for NaNoWriMo! 

So why do I still think it's dumb?

I don't know, so I'm going to test it. NaNoWriMo 2010: Nathan's doing it. He's writing Steelgods 2. Or Canyon Story. Or something else. Point is, I'm going to get all up in this. I'll sign up on the site or whatever. I'll try to get people to do it with me. Do community, all that crap, see if it really is all it is cracked up to be.

Then, when December 1st rolls around, I'll let you know how I feel about it.

This should be interesting. 

2 comments:

Charlie said...

I'm not a NaNo fan either, for a lot of reasons you listed. Also, I write just fine on my own, no need to force it for a happy-writing-month.

But let me know how it goes.:P

Derek Bown said...

Oh sure, make me feel bad about considering NaNoWriMo, and then do it yourself. I see how it is. :P

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