Oh yes. It’s November. All the writing blogs and forums are abuzz with NaNoWriMo talk, which is why I’m steering clear. Yes, I’m a NaNoWriMo grinch. Part of the reason is that I’m not a fiction writer and part of the reason is because I think it’s a little overblown.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is probably the silliest anagram I’ve come across in some time. Say it out loud with me, “NaNoWriMo.” It doesn’t really flow, does it? To make it worse, perfectly fluent writers and bloggers are saying to each other, “Do you NaNoWriMo?” “OMG!!! Yes!!!”. It turns brilliant minds into text chatters.
The premise behind NaNoWriMo is to be able to write and complete an entire novel in a month. A whole novel, people. Not a chapter, not an outline, but an entire novel featuring plot, characters, dialogue and the whole shebang.
Why am I hating on NaNoWriMo?
So I think at this point it’s clear my annoyance at NaNoWriMo goes beyond a silly anagram. Why do I dislike it so much?
- Because most writers I know write novels to relax. I don’t think there’s anything relaxing about having to write an entire novel in 30 days. I know some writers who absolutely stress over their one month deadline and beat themselves up if they don’t make their goals.
- Because I’m not so sure one can write a good novel in one month. Let’s be realistic here, can you really write a good novel in a month? We often talk about employers who cause writer’s burnout by asking for unrealistic quotas and deadlines, and then we suggest we can write novels in a month? Good novels? I’m sure some can do it, but I’m willing to bet there’s a whole lot of not very good being churned out in November.
- Because creativity isn’t a page on the calendar. Really, if I feel the urge to write, I’ll do it. I don’t know about you, but it’s not always easy to write on command. Ideas don’t always come when we want them to. It’s hard enough to plan a blog post around a given title sometimes, I can’t see forcing out a novel.
- Umm….holidays? Could there BE any worse time to schedule a marathon of writing? Well, maybe December. Who decided November would be a good month to write an entire novel? Why not March? Nothing ever happens in March.
Enough of this silliness. If you want to write, write. You don’t need a month or a day or permission to be creative. Take your time and go for quality over quanity. Meanwhile, I’m going to go hide under a rock for the next 22 days.