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.”
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.
As always – thank you for reading