Friday, December 20, 2013

NaNoWriMo -- Why?

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is either the largest concentrated waste of time ever created, or it's the most ingenious idea ever fashioned by editors and self-publishing companies, the prime beneficiaries of such an event.
More than 300,000 would-be authors entered this year.  It’s a mystery as to how many actually met their goal of producing a manuscript of at least 50,000 words, and it's a bigger mystery as to how many of these novels will actually get read.  

For an entire month, husbands disappeared into their dens, kids made their own meals, and employees dozed off at their desks after typing into the night--all to stay on pace with 2,000 words a day. Daily routines were tossed into the air, but somehow NaNoWriMo writers still found time to tell their pseudo-friends on Twitter and Facebook what page they were on--the writer's version of a cyber high five to fellow entrants.
The promoters and participants accept that some amount of “crap” comes out the end of the NaNoWriMo 30-day digestive system.  They say it’s as much about the creative process and getting new talent interested in writing as it is the quality of the manuscripts. And who can argue with bringing more creativity into the world?    
Still, it's my guess there are 300,000 new manuscripts in need of a good editor.  And who knows, with a good scrubbing, maybe several great novels will result from this process.  With 300,000 entrants, the laws of probability come into play.
Now, before a quarter million NaNoWriMo authors point to my  book sales in an attempt to discredit my perception of this event, let me say my comments are not personal.  It’s not about the NaNoWriMo contestants, some of which are among my pseudo-friends on Facebook and Twitter.  It’s about me and the enigmatic attraction to this contest. I’ve never understood it, so I've never entered.  It may be my loss.

But really, couldn’t 300,000 intelligent, creative people find something more constructive to concentrate their efforts on in November?  Don’t any of you play fantasy football?                                          


  1. *laughing hard* ...fantasy football...

    I so enjoy your posts.

  2. That's not the way to write a novel, for sure. No short cuts people. On the plus side, there are a lot of people who aspire to be writers. The more the merrier, I always say.

  3. It takes me at least a year to research, write, edit, rewrite, cry, sweat, cry, rewrite, edit, punch the editor, cuss, rewrite, re-research, well you get the idea. A month???

  4. I wrote my last novel during NaNoWriMo...2009, 2010, and 2011. ;) I'm a pantser. I knew who my characters were, the main conflicts and how it would end..sorta. What NaNo did for me was to keep me writing, especially in 2011. They had a team on Twitter giving prompts 24 hours a day, so if I got blocked for a moment there was someone to spur me on. I resorted to heads-down typing about whatever came into my head and put it all together after November, cut, spliced, and dropped it on an editor in 2012.

    That was Tell Them I Died.

    I started out this November, but between a bad cold, nerve damage, and eye surgery, I backed out.

  5. i don't join NaNoWriMo... for me even though it encourages aspiring writers to prematurely squeeze their creative juices and finish their novels before the end of the month, I'm afraid that quality is sacrificed. Well, they can go back and edit their novel. But it would be a hassle especially if you have to change a significant event that could change whole flow of the story.