Tag Archives: just do it

NaNoWriMo – The Fast Track to Disappointment

Here it is – November 3rd – and the big word acronym in the writing world this weekend was NaNoWriMo.

For those of you outside the loop…NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.

The goal, in short, is to try to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of something) during the month of November by creating an account on the NaNoWriMo website and tracking your progress. You can earn badges (badges?…) and even win real prizes.


Several of my writer friends are participating. Their facebook feeds had posts of their progress over the weekend (2,000 words today, etc).

I wish them luck in their quest…I really do, but if anybody is waiting for me to jump up and down shouting the praises of this event…well let’s just say I hope they packed a lunch, because they’ll be waiting a long time.

I can’t condone it…I’m sorry.

It’s not that I don’t want people to write…nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s just that this whole concept of writing a novel (or 50,000 words if you want to look at it that way) in a month is, in my opinion, dumb.

Why am I so critical of something that promotes writing?

Because I liken it to gyms and health clubs who advertise New Year’s Specials…knowing full well that there are thousands and thousands of commitment-phobes out there who say they want to get in shape, but what they really mean is they want to be able to say they tried. They sign up in December and hit the treadmill with a vengeance in January…by the middle of February they start finding excuses to miss a day here and there and by Easter-time they’ve gone back to wearing sweatpants and eating ice cream in front of the TV.

I’m not saying it can’t be done…I’m saying it shouldn’t be done.

Writing a book is not a race or a contest.

In my opinion, NaNoWriMo, for all of its good intentions, does more harm than good by convincing people they weren’t good enough.

Sort of like if the gym had taken a new crop of overweight accountants and threw them into a Navy SEAL training program.


One or two of them might survive, but the majority of them wouldn’t last two hours – and they’d walk straight out of the gym looking for the nearest McDonald’s.

NaNoWriMo might produce a few decent manuscripts, but for the most part it does nothing more than satisfy the consciences of people who “have always wanted to write a book” by allowing them to say “I tried.”

Yoda do ro do not

To those people I say this…

If you want to write a book…really want to write a book…then don’t worry about what month it is and don’t tell yourself that you need to do it in thirty days.

Just sit your ass down in front of the computer and start writing. You’ll know you’re finished when you type The End – not because the calendar tells you so. Then you win the prize. You win the satisfaction of saying “I did this”.

Maybe you weren’t the fastest, or the best – but simply by doing it and seeing it through to the end, you will have accomplished something that the vast majority of people haven’t, and never will – regardless of what month it is.

the end 2









As always – thank you for reading


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The True Secret to Being a Successful Writer

Shortly after I began writing my first book (the one I was really serious about, not the one I started in 1988 and never finished) I naturally began networking.

party with writers

Since then, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and a variety of writing oriented websites I have met many, many writers. Some were working on their first book while others had dozens of releases. They represented all genres from action to zombie (see what I did there?) and for every different style and level of experience, there was also a different attitude toward the craft.

Every writer, or at least the vast majority of them, has one thing in common…the desire for success. Some see success as a number one best-seller, others will consider themselves successful if they can manage a steady income and some define success as simply holding that first novel in their hands – and most will do whatever it takes to reach their goal.

That’s right, I said most.

Believe it or not, I have met a handful of people who like to call themselves writers, but aren’t even remotely interested in putting in the work.

Every writer reading this post knows what I mean by the work, but for the others let me tell you this; writing is work – lots and lots of work. This is not the place to go into detail, but ask any serious writer, they’ll back me up.

As I was saying, I have met many people who claim to be writers, but they are just not dedicated. They tell you they are working on a novel but that’s about as far as it gets. They spend lots of time on the internet hanging out in writer’s groups talking a good game, but that’s the end of it.

meaning to write

It’s the equivalent of me knowing a handful of chords, hanging out with Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton and calling myself a guitar player.

I’m not trying to be demeaning. I’m not calling anybody a fraud and I am certainly not saying that these people have no talent.

In fact, I can think of a couple I have known who were very talented, but for whatever reason they were unwilling (or maybe unable) to go that extra six miles.

There’s an old saying…”Be wary of giving advice; Wise men don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.”

I’m going to ignore that bit of wisdom for the time being.

I’m going to give some advice to anybody who wants to be a writer – and here’s the kicker…if you aren’t willing to take this advice seriously, you might as well pack it in now.

It may sound harsh, but somebody has to tell it like it is.

Are you ready?

Here it is…

Stop talking about it and do it.

It’s just that simple.stop talking

There is only one way to become a writer…you have to work at it. You have to work at it when it’s fun and when it sucks…on the days when it comes easy and on the days when you feel like you’re trying to rewrite War and Peace, in Sanskrit.

There will be those days when putting together a cohesive paragraph is more painful than taking your teenage daughter to a One Direction concert. Too bad – sit there and work through it.

You know those days when you just want to sit on the couch and watch TV? Get to writing.

frustrated writerWhen you get tired of working you can use this guaranteed shortcut…sit down and write!

That’s the real bad news here…there is no shortcut, no miracle cure, no magic bullet.

Which means don’t pay for a seminar or a book that promises to teach you how to write a best seller, if anybody knows that formula they wouldn’t need to sell a book about how to do it.

It means don’t keep telling everybody you have writer’s block and don’t say you’re still working out some of the details.

Be honest with yourself…

If you really want to write a book, you won’t let anything stop you. If something stops you – it’s because you let it stop you.

I am not saying that following this advice will guarantee you a best-seller. I’m not promising you a movie deal, a boat or a cup of coffee – but I will promise you this…

You will never get ANY of those things until you get serious and write.

Now if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got a book to write.

As always, thank you for reading


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