This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not a huge fan of NanoWriMo. I don’t dislike it, but I’m close. I will most likely never participate in it, and I’m going to try to explain myself. Understand that I speak for nobody but myself, and I am certainly not disparaging those who enjoy the experience.
You see, I love writing. Writing, to me, is that “I love what I do so my job isn’t ‘work'” feeling. If someone said “Hey, if you let us cut off your toes, we’ll pay you to write the rest of your life,” I’d be all like “Cool beans! I don’t need those ungrateful toe bastards anyway! Saw away, friend!”
So you’d think that NaNoWriMo would be perfect for me, right? Well, yes…and no. For me, writing is done on my time. It’s an activity that provides an escape and a bit of solace that I can’t get doing really anything else (except maybe running). I don’t give myself word count or time deadlines. I write however much or little flows from my noggin, through my fingers, and onto the keyboard.
Forcing myself to hammer out a novel in a month would be like forcing myself to run as long and as far as I can until I drop dead. I don’t want to force the creativity out of me, beating it with a whip and calling it bad names until it’s crying in the corner, rocking itself in the fetal position.
I don’t want to look at the time of day and think “Holy crapballs, I need to pound out X number of words still today or this week or this month!” No thanks. I’ll pass.
I know that some writers thrive on this. NaNoWriMo gives them a chance to branch out and write something they otherwise wouldn’t commit to. They come up with new ideas and concepts, and they pound them out until their fingers fall off and they love it! And that’s great, but it’s not for me.
Writing is me time. It’s the few hours of the week that I have nowhere to go and nothing to do but write, and write what I want to write. The moment that feeling stops is the moment I will give up writing. And I’m not planning on giving up writing anytime soon.
So, writers, prep for NaNoWriMo and have loads of fun during the month of November. I will not be writing with you, but I will certainly be cheering you on from the sidelines…still, sadly, with all of my toes intact.
5 thoughts on “NanoWri…Mo or Less”
I’m a NaNoWriMo participant, and over the years, I’ve met several people who feel similarly to you. In my own posts when I talk about the reasons for doing NaNoWriMo, I often mention that it isn’t for everyone. So I totally get it. (I mean…I don’t “get it,” because I love NaNoWriMo, but I understand why it’s not fun, helpful, or productive for many people. What I appreciate is the respectful way you present your side, because some of the people I’ve met who were against NaNoWriMo were downright snide about it. Thank you for your post; it was well-stated.
(I would be in line right behind you to get my toes sawed off, by the way!)
We definitely have way too much derision and contempt to go around. I’m a “let everyone like what they like” kind of guy, but I always try to understand the what’s and why’s, and I’ve struggled with the NaNoWriMo issue for a while. Also, I never say never…except just now. But I *might* try it someday!
Toe-sawing for everyone!!!
To be fair, there’s probably plenty of the same from my side of the fence–NaNo participants who think people who don’t want to join in are in the wrong somehow. I appreciate the attitude of “you do you.”
If you ever did decide to do NaNo someday, I would be quite fascinated to hear what brought that decision about. (That’s not sarcasm either!)
I totally get this and I’m sure lots of people feel that way.
I’ve written about this, but for me Nanowrimo taught me how to finish things. I’d never really stuck with a story past the sticky parts. And I don’t always write, even though I love it. So every year in November I trot out an idea I’ve been putting off and hammer out a draft. (some years it was all I wrote) And while the first year was torture, I was thrilled when I finished. Now it’s actially fun.
I usually recommend everyone try it once, just because I think it’s an experience. It was originally for people who’d always wanted to write a book but never had. But no one should ever feel like they have to. I’ve been doing it for 12 years and love it, but I think people who ski are insane, so we all have our own idea of fun. To each their own!
(I also believe in writing for yourself and only yourself. I’d quit if it wasn’t fun too!)
I can see how it would definitely force a writer to finish–it’s sort of gamification of writing, if you think about it. Like a Fitbit for prose. Everyone’s in it, you can commiserate with fellow writers, compare struggles and successes (and social media makes it even more fun), etc. All of that actually sounds fun to me. The (basically) forcing myself to write part is the part that doesn’t appeal to me but, yeah, I understand why even that is fun for a lot of people.
Skiing IS insane…but awesome. 🙂