Monday, December 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Why I Participate

Oh god, y'all are thinking, not another NaNoWriMo post. It's December for chrissakes. I know and I'm sorry, but we'll all get through this together.

Every year, NaNoWriMo gets a lot of flack, saying that it enables people who fashion themselves as writers when they're really not. I disagree, but that's a subject for a different day. Today is all about why I always go back to NaNoWriMo*.

It's so easy to get stuck on the revision/editing wheel that anyone can get so sucked into it that you can go two years without writing anything new. NaNoWriMo guarantees me that at least once a year I'll create a new novel-length work, which is important since I want to have a writing career.

With this in mind, I use NaNoWriMo to experiment. Whether it's planning techniques or story structure, I make sure that I try something new each year. This is how I learned I was a plotter and that plotcards are what works best. If it wasn't for this, I would never have wrote a novel in present tense.

Just like experimenting takes me out of my writerly comfort zone, so does the deadline that looms over my head each November. There's no fudging it, if I want the winner goodies, I need to complete 50,000 words by November 30th. I can't afford to spend hours stuck in a Wikipedia hole if I want to get my novel done. Since I'm in this for the long haul, meeting deadlines and honing my focus are important things to learn.

For those in the Lurkdom that do NaNo, what drives you to participate in NaNoWriMo?

* And I do. Since my first one in 2009, I've participated and won each year. I even did one session of Camp NaNoWriMo this year.

_____ hit of the day: Blessing by London After Midnight


  1. I don't agree with the flack NaNo gets. It's where some very amazing authors penned their first novel and it gets people to WRITE. I don't know what's wrong with that.

    As for me, I can't rest until I've completed a project, several rounds of revisions and all. BUT when I do break between drafts, I do start writing new stuff. That period has yet to fall in November though. Maybe next year.

  2. Much of the flack comes from people who write a 50k first draft of a novel and think it's the greatest thing ever. They let it inflate their egos, insist they are the next Rowling or Tolkien, and immediately send it off the publishers explaining this. The rest of the flack comes from people who are jealous because /they/ can't finish a draft in thirty years, forget thirty days.

    I use NaNoWriMo not only for its momentum, but also to forgive myself for making mistakes and experiment with my writing. My goals for this year were to figure out how/when I write best, and I think I succeeded at that.

    That said, I found this year to be rather lackluster. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I have in the past, and the whole thing felt more like a chore than anything else. Hence why I probably won't participate next year. I join to have fun, not to stress.

  3. I love the idea of NaNo, though b/c it's November I can never participate. I think it's a fantastic idea, and a very welcoming way to break into the writing world. Maybe that's why some don't like it-- they don't want everyone to write a novel? They want it to be their special thing? I dunno. Forget the haters!
    Thanks for the tweet, btw. :0)

  4. This is a great reason for participating in NaNo. I didn't play this year but hopefully next year.

  5. I've never done NaNo specifically, but I have written a novel in a month. Just not November. I too don't understand all of the vitriol that seems to be spewed in NaNo's general direction. I think it's a great idea and if it gets more people writing, well then what's the problem?

  6. I participate for the same reason that you mentioned--to get out of my revision hole and try something new. I'm already toiling away with ideas for NaNo 2012. Am I too eager??

  7. You're making me wish I'd done NaNo! I did a writing Bootcamp last June and did 60K during that month. It was hard and stressful, but I'm so glad I did it. Maybe I'll set a big word count goal for January or February... you're inspiring me. Congrats again on WINNING NANO!


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