November 19, 2015
NaNoWriMo sucks. Before anyone thinks I’m saying this because I’m behind, don’t. Am I behind? Totally. Am I *really* behind? Again: totally. But that is not even the point. Or maybe it is. Maybe it really, really, IS the point.
It’s relatively safe, I feel, to say that the majority of people who participate in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo each year are writers. Some are people who have always wanted to write a book, but never had the motivation, or “the time.” Whatever. Some are people blinded by the illusion that they will somehow write a perfect and publishable manuscript by the end of a thirty/thirty-one day period.
Again, though, most of us are actual writers who write fairly often. Many of us are decent writers. Yes, I consider myself to be a “decent” writer. I’m not a beginner, and I’m not a professional, but I think I’m certainly somewhere in the middle. Improving (I hope) every day. I’ve written a “complete” manuscript. Meaning, I’ve written from the figurative “Once upon a time” to “THE END” more than once. More than twice. Quite a few times. The fact that I’ve never edited any of those “completed” drafts and polished them is irrelevant. My point is that I know I have it in me to finish a story, from beginning to end, even if it sucks. And in the past, I’ve been proud of this.
Yet there is a phenomenon that happens whenever Nano time rolls around each of the three times it does each year. I come up with grand plots, vastly-reaching stories of space explorations and planets filled to the brim with indigenous life and civilians, I come up with characters and romances and villains and conflicts that seem so freaking PERFECT in my mind, I start writing on day one of the challenge…
And each time–Each and every single time, save once–I have “failed.”
Maybe I’m overthinking this, and maybe I’ve lost my mind, but something a very controversial celebrity figure recently said is coming back to mind. I can’t remember word for word, but basically they spoke about a certain competition where people who had been considered successful had the opportunity to feel like losers for the first time, and they didn’t understand it. That’s how I feel right now.
I don’t kid myself into believing I’m a writing genius. I’m not the precocious child genius who was published at seven with ten books to their name by twenty. I’m not published anywhere but online. But as I said at the start, I consider myself a decent writer, and I know I can write a novel in thirty days when I truly want to. The bigger point?
I can write a far BETTER novel when I take my time and develop my story characters the way I want to. That may take three months. Maybe six. Big whoop.
I refuse to feel like a failure when I know good and well I’m not. I just refuse to write crap for the sake of a few discounts labeled “winner’s goodies.” Aren’t winner’s goodies supposed to be free gifts you receive after winning a contest? If I have to pay for stuff, it’s not a gift. It’s an incentive to buy stuff.
Forget this crap.
I am not saying I’m quitting. Am I finishing “NaNoWriMo?” No. Am I finishing this novel? Heck yes I am.
Now am I truly hating on the project? No, I’m really not. For some, NaNoWriMo must be an incredible help. Maybe they can’t focus any other way. And not everyone thinks they’ll get a publishable draft out of it. It’s a start. So for anyone who can complete the goal with their happiness intact, salute. but for those of us writers who are truly fine without it, don’t let it make you feel like a loser. We’re not losers; there are different methods to writing, and they aren’t “One Size Fits All.”
National Novel Writing Month isn’t for me, because every month is Novel Writing Month. So, in conclusion:
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