I suppose I could call this post “this is why I NaNo,” but I’m saving that for November when there’s endless publicity and my hackles get raised again.
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is a pip. You take an idea – in my case, a half-formed germ of an idea – and spend a month poking and prodding it into a 50,000 word novel. You “win” by finishing the 50K before midnight on the 30th and you can throw some confetti for yourself and stuff. Now it happens in the summer, too! One month wasn’t enough, now there are two extra sessions in the summer where you can get your writing on called Camp NaNoWriMo!
When people ask me about it, I refer to it as “endurance writing,” because it’s a lot easier to explain it that way. When I was younger and could drink caffeine, I would write two thousand words a day and be really excited about it. Now I’m older and limit my sodium, I suppose the fact that lately I have to use sleeping pills to get anything like rest should be a good thing. I’m quite proud of myself if I can manage 1000 words a day, much less double that, but I’ll be extra-proud if I can make the daily goal of 1667 words.
The thing is, some people – “REAL WRITERS*” – hate NaNoWriMo. Seriously, they write screeds and treatises on why they hate it. They make Demotivational posters about it.
I guess I should be thankful to the people who made that snarky thing because it led me to the following DM poster, which is much funnier to me and gave me a great idea. An idea involving a nail gun and the back of someone’s head.
Yes, there are people who abuse it. By that I mean people who spend two days writing absolutely nothing so they can pump out 100,000 words and win a bet or bragging rights on Twitter. And yes, there are hundreds of thousands of novels written that are absolute crap. Hell, half my stuff is absolute crap. It’s called a first draft. It’s why we have editing, which is boring and often embarrassing when you realize just what you wrote, but necessary. How is this any different from the Trifecta Challenge I do every week? Or Haiku Friday? It’s not. They’re challenges.
The point of NaNo is not that we’re all going to become Pulitzer or Newbury award winners in 30 days or that we’re all going to get published and rich. The point is to get off your butt and write something. It might be awesome; there are plenty of folks who have published their NaNo novels. It might be terrible; there are lots of novels that are written like they were typed by my special needs cat. But you will have done something, which is often more than what the people who snark and bitch are doing.
Writing is hard. It takes time. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. For me, it’s a month where I can just write whatever comes into my head without overthinking it. It’s a chance to get into the habit of writing every day, which is crucial to getting better. It’s the opportunity to come up with something that might bloom into a full-fledged mind sink for me. Why on earth would anyone give up that chance, then sit back and try to make other people miserable?
Someone once said “the more a person talks about their writing, the less they’re actually writing.” Actually, that could have been about sex but it still applies. So it’s time for me to get off the computer and back to writing. Haters gonna make some good points, but they can still get to the left.
*I shouted at you because they shout at me. It’s a shitty thing to do, but for some reason NaNo makes some people act really shitty. Because other people shouldn’t have cornflakes if you can’t poop in them, I guess.