But I felt an unexpected compulsion to share a thought this morning.
It’s just this:
People will tell you what NaNoWriMo is for. They will tell you what it is not for. They will tell you how great it is or they will tell you what a waste of time it is. They will share their experiences of doing, or reasons for not doing, NaNoWriMo.
Some people pick up random snippets of information about NaNoWriMo and think they know that it is all about wannabe writers completing a hurriedly written novel in a month and then sending it straight to a publisher to be – most likely – rejected. Well that may be what a small percentage is doing. But I don’t know anyone who has done that.
What no one can tell you is what you will get from NaNoWriMo. The NaNoWriMo book: No Plot? No Problem! written by NaNoWriMo creator, Chris Baty, couldn’t even tell me what I would get from participating in NaNoWriMo!
Well because NaNoWriMo like many other ways and implements of writing is a tool. It is something to be picked up, used and taken advantage of in a way that suits the user.
I used NaNoWriMo last year to START a novel. To put aside a month and ask for help from my family to concentrate on getting words on a page, with less outside commitments than usual – just for a month (I couldn’t do this in the summer). I could give them definitive dates that I would stick to. Otherwise every idea I get gets ditched when something else demands of my time. I can manage a short story once or twice a week but can I sit and write out the bones of a novel day-by-day-by-day? No.
I used the recommended daily word count as a way to encourage me to push my story on and out, and worry about editing later (over the next months or years). I used NaNoWriMo as writing permission, a reason, a driving force – a retreat almost. I even had a place I went to (with a t-shirt and a mug!) that was a NaNo-only zone. I had no story plan, no plot, no characters, but by the end of the month I did – I had 50,000 words and a story about a bunch of people doing and saying some interesting things that I think other people might find interesting one day.
One day. After lots of fiddling. No hurry.
I hope to pick up and use NaNoWriMo again for a month on Tuesday – in my own little way.
National Novel Writing Month: It’s just another tool of the job. You may very well use it differently from me. But don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.