I don’t know why this is but when NaNoWriMo roles around there is always someone who has to jump on the bandwagon and say no, this is a ridiculous idea. And here are the two main ideas they harp on: the permission to write crap, and the outrageous word count goal with the small timeline. Also, there is the occasional rumble from the publishing industry in regards to unrevised manuscripts being sent out on Decemeber 1.
It always seems that they harp on this one particular line “give yourself permission to write crap” without following through on the rest of the thought. The purpose of giving yourself permission to write crap is that you are giving yourself the freedom to create and discover. Instead of continuously judging yourself whether or not your writing lives up to your expectations, you are giving yourself the opportunity to surprise yourself. It’s more about not holding back and going for it, about reaching for the impossible and seeing what you can achieve. It’s about not letting others opinions stop you from achieving your dreams. It’s about exploring the impossible.
I know people say, if you want to write you will, why would you put yourself under the stress of getting that much done in such a short period of time. When things are due soon, it happens. When you give me a really long due date, I wait and do things at the last minute in the same amount of time it would have taken me to do it with the shorter deadline. A lot of people are like this, it’s called procrastination. But now were saying, here you go, here is a goal, I know it seems ridiculous but surprise yourself, I promise you will.
And I can’t tell you how much it bothers me when people miss these points. When they miss the golden opportunity this event is based on. They give you a tight deadline and the opportunity to express your creative freedom. What bothers me most are when fellow writers say it.
What I think they should really say, is sit back and consider if this is really for you. If this is your style of writing a book? Try it out, and find out for yourself, but if it doesn’t work for you, don ‘t beat yourself up. Find your own path.
I know that NaNoWriMo is not designed for everyone. It’s not a once size fits all program. One size fits all clothing never worked out and there is not similar solution when it comes to writing. We all have our different methods. But rather than hit the event on the head and say STOP, DON’T DO IT!!! Sit back and say these are the reasons why this event doesn’t work for me, and they may also be reasons why it doesn’t work for you. But, by all means, do not discourage the creative endeavor.
And for those of you who hate it because you work in publishing and people send off queries on December 1 – saying this is my NaNoWriMo project, I sympathize. But please do take it with a grain of salt. There are warning labels. Plenty of them that state REVISE REVISE REVISE. But if someone chooses not to follow those, it should not be the organization that you blame; your fury should be directed towards those incompetent fools who chose to disregard it. I’m sure there are other instances where you receive queries for manuscripts that have obviously not been revised, and these people have never participated in NaNoWriMo. Their will always be ignorant people, no matter where they come from. This is a hazard of your job. Form reject. I know it is a lot of wasted time, but I too work in a department where a lot of my time gets wasted on petty things that could have been avoided if people paid attention. They don’t, I move on, you should too.
NaNoWriMo is a time for me to put writing first and get it done. A tight deadline that forces my creative juices to flow. It is also a great way to meet and connect with other writers. And I can 100% guarantee you that if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo I would not have learnt so much about the publishing industry this past year. I now have a better understanding of revising, and how many books I may have to write before publication, and how to query, and the time it takes from landing an agent to publication, and just because and agent likes my book doesn’t mean it’s going to sell to an editor, all things I had very little idea about beforehand. NaNoWriMo was a turning point in my life; one that has opened me up to a world of information and knowledge in regards to publishing. It’s not just what you put in to it, but what you take out of it that counts too.
This may not be the event for you, but that doesn’t give you the right to preach to everyone to stop. It does however give you the opportunity to encourage them to find other ways of reaching their creative potential.
P.S. And all those stats out there about writers not being readers. POSITIVE RUBISH!!! I love to read. One of the first things I ever heard when I was researching about publishing was READ READ READ!!! And then I made it my goal to read some more.
Those quotes that say that so many Americans think they have a book in them but only so many actually read. Well guess what. Those Americans who think they have a book in them but don’t read won’t get far in the publishing industry. Heck I bet they never actually get around to writing their books. No one cares about them; we all think they are silly. Stop worrying about those stats and those people with the silly notion that they will write a book and get published without ever having picked dup a book in their life. Just stop it. You’re wasting energy on the ignorant. They will either get informed or choose to stay ignorant, but that is their path and they will need to figure it out. And if you run into them at a party you can do several things, laugh at them (either on the inside or out), try to enlighten them, or walk away.