Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo a Waste of Time?

I read an article yesterday that argued it is.

Briefly, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it happens every year in November. I wrote last week about my unofficial participation this year. Obviously I don't think it's a waste of time. Why did the author think it is? There were two main reasons given.

1. Amateurs often participate, and they focus on writing 50K words and ignore the editing process. Then in December, they spam editors and publishers with bad manuscripts.

2. The ones who do what they "should do," namely put the manuscripts in a drawer and forget about them have wasted the month.

I have sympathy for #1. I've read plenty of bad writing. It's painful, and any participants who ignore the revision part of the writing process are doing themselves (and unlucky readers) a disservice.

But #2 is unbearably arrogant.

Writing is something anyone can do. It doesn't require special tools or equipment. All you need are paper, pencils and an idea.

Writing 50K words in 30 days is hard work. I've been writing all my life, and I've never written that many words that quickly. It takes planning, discipline, determination and sacrifice.

All those are worthy things to learn and practice. 3 days in this exercise, and I've already had to juggle time to meet my goal. Last night, I wrote instead of watching TV because I was determined to make my goal. Even though the latest episode of Hawaii 5-O was calling. Loudly.

I'm learning I can write quickly. I don't need to agonize over every word. I had a character go in an entirely unexpected direction because I'm not stopping to self-edit. Will I keep that development? I don't know. That decision is for next month when I start editing.

There's value in writing 50K words in 30 days. Even if those words are never read by anyone else. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Total words so far: 5864. I'm still on track!

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