NaNoWriMo is a strange thing. For those you you who don’t know, it is the National Novel Writing Month. It comes around in November every year and writers from all around the world (so bigger than ‘national’ now) try to write 50k words in a month.
I’ve done it twice. I reached about 55k in one of them and somewhere in the thirties for the other so it can definitely be a good thing to get you going.
But here’s the thing… Why?
I was thinking about doing it again this year but wanted to get the draft of Shadow of the Dragon done first. I’ve hit a bit of a speed hump there, so that isn’t going to be happening. So I’ve been a bit disappointed.
Then I wondered why I wanted to do it and why I was disappointed. I’m not a particularly social creature, so I probably wouldn’t have had much to do with that side of things (web groups, whatever– they would have jut been a drain on my time without me actually contributing). So it would have just been me typing away (and probably failing– three kids and work tend to do that to writing).
Then I thought… Ummm… Why can’t I do it next month? Or why can’t a start mid month? Why do I think November is the only month I can set outrageous targets? If I want a support group my wife will be in that. So will the regular on-line writing list I’m a part of. I know a lot of writers I could sign up to give encouragement. Not that I’ve ever particularly needed that sort of stuff.
I think NaNoWriMo is great for first time writers, those who have just started out and aren’t quite sure if they can write a large chunk of words no matter what their time limit. For those who already consider themselves to be writers I think it is a bit of a cop out.
“I’m doing NaNoWriMo later this year, there’s no need to do 50k words this month.”
“I’ve got an idea that I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo.”
That way, they only have to feel guilty about failing to reach their writing goal for November. Perhaps they should set crazy goals every month and see how they go. Why do they need the validation of a the NaNoWriMo title and website to challenge themselves?
Don’t follow the crowd. Let every month be your novel writing month.
No, I know it isn’t November, but go and write something. You’re allowed to, you know.