NaNoWriMo: A Love/Hate Story

IMG_20140608_111859Today, I wrote almost 500 words.

But for NaNoWriMo, what with it’s snarky, guilt inducing charts readily displaying my stats, I’ve fallen behind. I’m a slacker. I suck. In eight days I’ve yet to write five thousand words, while I should have 13k+ words written by now.

And– and if I keep going at this rate, it’ll be January 23rd before I reach the 50k word goal.

You know what I say? I say, fuck that.

The words I wrote today are good words, words that I’d be willing to show anyone–in fact I just might post them here. I didn’t just sit and write a bunch of crap so that I could fill in a little box that says “Today you wrote 1667 words. You’re a superstar.” I wrote a decent piece of prose.

So why even participate? you ask. I participate because it helps motivate me to write everyday, to not let other get in the way. I use NaNo. Yes, I do. I use it and abuse it, and I absolutely won’t respect it in the morning.

I only wish other writers went into it with this spirit. Because what I hate most about NaNo is that it gives writers the hope that they can write a novel in a month. They can’t. If they are very, very–very–lucky, on November 30th they will have a shitty first draft. And even then, if the person just sat and wrote 1667 words each day, with no real though on style/structure/voice/quality, the 50k words they end up with might not even be good enough to re-work. It might be better to just start over and write the story again. From scratch.

So I love NaNo for motivating me, for nagging me even if it does get very condescending about my worth as a writer if I can’t produce 50k words in a month. Yes, I do tend to let others, including a snarky graph, define my self-worth, but then I suspect others besides me do as well.

And I hate NaNo for implying that quantity is more important than quality.

~ o ~

I’ll leave you with an alleged conversation held with James Joyce:

“I’ve been working hard on [Ulysses] all day,” said Joyce.

“Does that mean that you have written a great deal?” I said.

“Two sentences,” said Joyce.

I looked sideways but Joyce was not smiling. I thought of [French novelist Gustave] Flaubert. “You’ve been seeking the mot juste?” I said.

“No,” said Joyce. “I have the words already. What I am seeking is the perfect order of words in the sentence.”



3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: A Love/Hate Story

  1. Sigh. You are more productive than I am. I could write 500 words for two days, not because I lack ideas, but because of the back pain I’ve been experiencing for months already. Geez, I’m still eighteen …


    • First, get your back taken care of. I have hip problems from fifteen years ago ’cause I didn’t take it seriously. And second, you might look into a voice recognition tool. I tried one years ago called Dragon Naturally Speaking. I didn’t like it, for various reasons, but you might. Good luck, and I hope your back gets better.

      Liked by 1 person


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