I want to say a thing.
NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone but that doesn’t make it bad.
Now I could be doing my creative writing lecturers a disservice but I got the distinct impression when I had to meet with them yesterday that NaNo = negative in their eyes. That to them writing lots of words meant nothing, that there was zero benefit in that. That it was beneath them and should be beneath me, not something for ‘serious’ writers.
On one level I can understand their caution as churning out lots of words doesn’t mean someone learns from them BUT in my opinion how can anyone learn without practice? It’s only through the act of doing that someone experiments and finds out what works and what doesn’t.
The biggest bonus to NaNo in my eyes is that it gives people a greater shot at the entire process. Actually finishing something – typing The End – is hard. Looking at a complete draft is different from looking at a partial one, you can see the whole story arc for instance. Then once the first draft is done, there’s the opportunity to start the next part of the process – first stage revision.
NaNo and writing the words is to quote from Chris Baty to put an end to the “one-day novelist” (aka the I’ll write a novel ‘one day’ person) by making one-day today. It’s a tool. It’s not an end goal. It’s very unlikely that at the end of the month people will have an amazing book – because that takes time. What they do have though is an incredible starting point.
Sorry I don’t know why I’m feeling defensive, especially because I’m failing NaNo epically right now so all my waxing lyrical about how it gets stuff completed is bull in my case. I just do feel defensive of NaNo I guess because in my eyes there is a lot to recommend it. It isn’t a machine which churns out crap. It’s a tool for learning, experimentation and to open up opportunities into other realms of the writing process.
It’s what you make of it.