NaNoWriMo: That Thing I Don’t Do But Think Is Quite Good

There, that was a 50,000 word title, right?

Almost.

Anyway, it’s November! Which means it’s time for my facebook and twitter feeds to fill up with fellow writers and people I didn’t know ever had an interest in writing start enthusing/despairing over word counts and plot holes and writing music and acts and tense and how many POV characters can you have before everything gets weird and terrible (thanks to GRRM, the answer is now two hundred and forty-seven).

While the NaNo community has always been a pretty positive group, as NaNo gets more and more popular (I think 200,000+ people signed up this year? Yowza!) there comes the inevitable criticism: ‘Eurgh, look at these amateurs thinking they can just pump out and publish a novel in a month;’ ‘Isn’t there enough shit out there already;’ ‘Right, because just anybody can write a novel.’

Which, to those people, I say a resounding ‘Cheer up, killjoys.’

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NaNoWriMo is a fun idea that seeks to achieve what many of us fail to do: guilt people into finishing (or at least working hard on) a draft. And yes, many of those people are not ‘real’ writers in the sense that they seek it as a career, or get paid for it, or will even show anybody their work. That’s not the point. Writing is allowed to be a hobby.

It’s also social. For those of us who do consider ourselves ‘real’ writers, it’s nice to have company (happy internet company we can switch off without awkwardness. Score!). Even if you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo (which I never do, but not out of principle), it’s nice to see other people feeling all the ups and downs and excitement and stress of writing right there with you. It certainly makes me feel better.

So while I’m in the tenth year of my ‘Oh, you should do NaNo this year, oh, it’s November 6th,’ (though for a real reason this year, I’m trudging through the edit of my own first novel and I don’t want to split my focus), I wish all my fellow writers (‘real’ or not) the best of luck and the best of fun this month.

Happy writing, and happy November!

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