Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Seems to Work

Yes, I was, (and still am a bit) a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) skeptic.  I said it didn't think it was a good idea to encourage people to write just for writing's sake.  And yes, I still think a lot of bad fiction will come out of NaNoWriMo and a lot of it might be self-published without proper editing/re-writing.

But, having said that, I think now, since I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, it does have value.  I participated in NaNoWriMo due to peer pressure.  My local writing group is very much into it so I decided to go along although I was already 40,000 words into a planned 60,000 word WIP (Work in Progress).  So I have been cheating a bit (I'm on my third "WIP" in November).

But, here is the thing that I think makes NaNoWriMo a fairly good idea: one of the hardest parts for a lot of would be (and established) writers is sitting down and actually writing.  You have great plans but to write it is tough.  So many distractions and self-doubts get in the way.  NaNoWriMo gives you an excuse to say, "to heck with it, I'm writing."  And it has worked for me.  I have written two things I may not have ever written if it weren't for NaNoWriMo, both ideas I've had bouncing around my head for a while.  When I finished those (both short stories about 5,000 words long) I was floundering around for something else to write because I was still short of 50,000 words by more than 10,000 words.  So I latched onto something I wrote and posted here a long time ago and decided to continue the story (I am not counting the 509 words posted on this blog in my NaNoWriMo total).  That is now at 7,787 words and no where near the end.  I'll probably get to 50,000 total words in a couple of days and still have more to write on that story (I need a conflict to arise and soon).

Why am I bothering?  Because I don't want to let down my local MLs (municipal liaison) who are friends.  I don't want to let down my local writers' group, which is full of friends.  Yes, it's the peer pressure to write and it works.  (This is, they have found, why people in wars will risk their lives: they don't want to let down their unit which probably contains friends and at least contains peers.)

So, what NaNoWriMo seems to do is to get you to actually write.  But, what it does that I don't like it is gets a lot of people to write badly.

However, writing badly is the first step to writing well.  So that, in itself is not horrible, as long as those books don't end up on the Kindle and damaging the reputation of all writers.

So I've gone from being a complete NaNoWriMo skeptic to an adherent.  Well, sort of.

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