I was surprised last year and this year to see so much ire against one of my favorite writing events: NaNoWriMo.
First of all, I’d like to point out my link from last Friday. You know, the one that was all about how we’re grownups and we have the choice to do things. If NaNo is not for you, I totally understand. What I do not understand is villifying this event because it doesn’t work for you or because people you “know” have been annoying about it.
I’ve said it before, I’ll likely say it a million times more, I am supremely confident I would not have finished a novel EVER if it had not been for NaNoWriMo. I started trying to write novel length fiction in middle school. From that point to my junior year of college I started and didn’t finish 50 novels. 50. I obviously loved to write, but a lot of things got in my way of ever finishing a story.
For me, NaNo encouraged me to let all of those things that got in my way GO. It focused on finishing, not the end project. That’s not a process that works for everyone, but it absolutely works for me. The less I write, the more I stop, the more I try to perfect every word the first go around… the less output I have. The harder it is to resist the draw of a shiny new story idea. Since that first NaNo novel I rewrote it three times before shoving it into a drawer. I also completed NaNo novels two more times, and failed a few other times, and didn’t participate a few times as well. I have never made someone feel bad for their less or more word count and I have never tried to submit a novel I hadn’t read over, edited, revised, etc.
I understand there are those out there who misuse NaNo. I understand how editors or agents might be frustrated when someone submits a NaNo novel on Dec. 1. That’s a terrible idea, and not one NaNo promotes. I understand that some might try to make NaNo into a contest, might try to make you feel bad about your inferior wordcount.
What I do NOT understand is why we blame NaNo and not the people misusing it. It’s human nature, obviously. You see it all the time. People blaming a system or a group for the actions of some. That doesn’t make it right. NaNo is a great organization for a lot of people. You don’t have to like it, and you don’t have to be a jerk about it.
I haven’t decided if I’m doing NaNo this year. I’m leaning towards yes since I’d really like to get started on my next WIP. If you’re a fellow NaNo-er you can friend me on the NaNo site. My user name is NTHelm.