It’s that tiiiiime of yearrrrr…
As if the holiday season wasn’t stressful enough, writers have taken it upon themselves to adopt NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, as a thing ever November. And as someone who has now finished a full-length book (and half of another) I’m going to tell you how I feel about it. Because I can.
I think NaNoWriMo is stupid.
Really, I do. I mean, more power to the company or whatever that set up the website and sends incessant emails about it. Everyone who wants to brand themselves should be so lucky to become a topic that everyone tweets about non-stop for 30 whole days.
But my distaste for NaNoWriMo has a few different roots.
One: Even though it took me a year, I loved the process of writing my book. It was a joyous experience. I sat down almost every single day and plotted out a few hundred words, fell in love with my characters, and reveled in the experience, essentially, of torturing fictional friends of mine and leading them to success.
Why would you want to limit the amount of time you get to grow, nurture, and love your characters?
There were some days when I couldn’t figure out what to do with them. How to get them out of the holes they were in.
And those were the days I didn’t write.
It’s okay not to write. I think it’s better to not write at all than to delete everything you put down out of compulsion.
Because I’m a control freak and completely weird, I don’t thing I ever once pulled an all-nighter to write a paper in college, or ever once finished something mere minutes before leaving for class. Part of that is because I scheduled myself to the ever-loving teeth but the other part of that is because I know that anything you write in a time crunch isn’t going to be as good as something you write at your leisure.
Fiction or non-, good writing takes time.
Also, unless you’re a bestseller with a contract that demands it, few of us are making our bread and butter off of books. Absolutely none of us are on a deadline. So why inflict the psychological torture of an arbitrary deadline on yourself?
All of your emotions are going to be spent fretting on whether or not you’re “losing” the competition of NaNoWriMo. The second someone posts that they wrote 5,000 words one day while you wrote 15, you’re going to feel lousy.
And lousy feelings should all be hoarded for the eventual pitch-and-reject portion of the publishing equation. That’s the really emotional junk.
The writing portion should be the self-indulgent bit. The time when you are Supreme Ruler and get to make the decisions. The span of time when no one can question you or tell you you made a mistake. This is the time to revel in.