A couple of weeks ago I as perusing among the Freshly Pressed blogs when I came across a small rant regarding Nanowrimo and other monthly awareness campaigns: Movember, Nanowrimo, Nablopomo, American Diabetes Month, etc. The list does go on, and I can see her point that it is all a little much. I was right up with her until she said, “If you wanted to write a novel, you would have done it already.” (In regards to Nanowrimo).
I was personally offended. I hadn’t written a novel yet, but I had REALLY wanted to. Her tone suggested that using Nanowrimo to write your book, be it your first or last, is a crutch. That if you were an author–someone really passionate about writing–then you would have buckled down and done it already. That we shouldn’t rely on Nanowrimo. That it is stupid. That by using Nanowrimo, I was labeling myself as a new writer, a writer without drive, or possibly even a bad writer.
As a disclaimer, I feel I should tell you that I might be exaggerating. The quote I quoted, is exact, but the implications and the nuances that I laid out in the second paragraph may or may not be factual. It is just an explanation of how I felt she meant it. At the very least it is a portrayal of my knee-jerk reaction to her quote.
I refrained from posting something about this before now. I didn’t want to preach, or rant, or rave. But the sentiment has festered, and I can no longer not say anything. I MUST defend Nanowrimo–it has taught me a lot. Here is a list of what Nanowrimo has given me:
- I now know that I write an average of 1,500 words an hour. If I am under duress, I can manage to make 1,900 words an hour.
- Any reason to write is a good reason to write.
- Writing a novel isn’t as painful as I thought it would be. (Don’t get me wrong, there is pain, but good pain–see here).
- I have a novel–written by me. (Okay I will have a novel when I finish the last five chapters, but that is not the point).
- I now have a good understanding of what it would feel like to write 8 hours a day. Awesome.
- I understand that a month is not long enough to write a good novel, unless you are Hans Fallada, thereby incredibly amazing, and die from the effort–literally. But it is long enough to give you a good start and a lot of material to work with.
- Nanowrimo helped me realize that this is all possible. It helped me shove my ego aside, which always hampers instead of helps, in order to get down to the nitty-gritty task of writing.
- If you have a good idea use it; do not save it. If I hold back an idea, because I want to put it into something else, not only am I selling my current work short, but I have come to believe that it is somehow not worthy of a good idea and that I will write something better later. It also is an indication of the belief that I have a finite amount of good ideas, which is no way to write. How can you create if you believe that you have to hoard your good ideas in case new ones never come? If I have an idea I need to use it and trust that another will come later.
- I edit too much while I am writing first draft. I choke myself with how much I try to edit. I need to work on this.
- Nanowrimo made me remember that I love writing and it gave me a taste of what my life will be like when I finally get the chance to jump into author-hood with both feet.