Presenting NaNoWriMo, Ladies and Gents

Well, it’s that time of year, folks!  For those of you who don’t know, November is the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Being a novelist, you’d think I’d be pretty psyched about this, huh?

Most writers are.  In fact, all the authors I know are eagerly participating in it.  I have to admit, at one time, it certainly held my interest.  And then I researched it a bit more…and my interest kind of faded.  Why, you ask?  Well, okay, the whole idea of a national novel writing month is pretty darn awesome.  That part I do like – a lot.  But NaNoWriMo is a program, and it’s the program that I don’t care for so much.

Here’s why:

Granted, the whole idea behind NaNoWriMo is great, and I’m betting that several authors do take advantage of it to produce quality stories.  However, the program just places emphasis on making your word count – 50,000 words.  They literally state that the quality of the document does not matter at all – it could be complete gibberish for all they care.  They just want the word count.

Anyone can produce 50,000 words of complete gibberish.

I hope several people do take it seriously and actually write stuff that they might look into getting published, but…I don’t like that the program doesn’t encourage quality.  After all, what’s the point of writing a “book” if it’s junky?  I’ve seen it all over the internet – thousands and thousands of bloggers are immensely proud of themselves for being an “author” because they completed NaNoWriMo…and then they quickly follow that statement up with saying something like, “But I could never publish it – I’d have to do a lot of revisions and/or rewrite the thing before I can let people read it.”  So…you are proud because you wrote 50,000 words in one month that you don’t want anybody else to read.  Okay.

Maybe I’m just old school, but I like quality.  Sure, go for a word count, but make sure it’s quality stuff.  This is why I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo.  The idea behind it is endearing and encouraging to budding writers, but it also seems like a cop out.  Besides, trying to write a whole novel in one month seems a little risky.  My publisher is constantly reminding their authors: ‘The slower you go, the faster you’ll finish.’  It’s true – the more time you take to write a quality story, the fewer revisions/rewrites you’ll have to make, the sooner you’ll be able to publish it.

Now, here are the pros of NaNoWriMo:

-It teaches writing discipline.  In order to make your word count, you have to write every day.  Either that, or write like twenty pages in one day.  Haha!

-It gives you writing practice.

-It gives you a goal to work towards.  A writer without a goal to work towards is like a train without tracks.  It doesn’t really work well.

-If you do complete something of quality work, you can say that you wrote a novel in one month!  Of course, you still have to edit, but hopefully your first draft is filled with potential.

**

So, if you can’t tell, the pros don’t really outweigh the cons, in my opinion.  I’m know for a fact that several people look forward to NaNoWriMo every year, so if you do, please don’t take offense at this.  It’s just my opinion on the downfalls of the program, which I haven’t seen many people talk about before – except for this article, which is excellent.  People around the nation applaud NaNoWriMo, but they don’t seem to recognize the bad habits/false pride it could produce.

As a novelist, of course, I want to encourage people to write.  However, I want to encourage them to produce quality writing.  As the national novel writing month, I hope you get a lot of great writing done this month!  Happy words!

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