Why NaNoWriMo?

Rob posed some interesting ideas and questions in the previous post that I though would be worth discussing here. Rob, I hope you don’t mind me talking about what you wrote there, as I think you raised some good questions.

First, Rob said he’s been pondering NaNoWriMo for years, but had been reluctant to take part. One reason for that is he didn’t want to end up with “with pages and pages of garbage”. This is a good point. He also asks if “you use an idea you’ve been holding for a novel and potentially ruin it or make up something else and not be completely behind it?”

Thanks for the questions Rob. For the first part, I don’t expect to be writing garbage exactly, though some people may use that method to pad their work counts (maybe that’s why I never come close to 50,000 words). My philosophy is to not expect to write beautiful prose and perfect phrasing, but not to get bogged down by the internal editor. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow my plan and get a good first draft completed.

As for the second part, I think it’s important to use an idea that you believe in. I don’t think it’s possible for me to write 50,000 words about something I’m not interested in or entertained by. The idea is key to achieving the 50,000 words.  Also, I don’t think you can ruin an idea by writing about it.  I think an idea is more ruined if never used.

The beauty of NaNoWriMo for me is that it gives me a goal and a deadline, two things I really (pathetically) need to get me motivated. That’s why I like writing contests so much. If someone came to me and said, “Write a novel for me and when you’re done I’ll publish it”, I would get that thing done in a heartbeat. However, writing a novel without knowing if it will ever succeed and with no deadline is just so difficult for me to do. NaNoWriMo at least gets me started.

Just like last year, I bet you’ll hear from a few “established” writers how foolish NaNoWriMo is, just like last year. I’m really not sure why this is, but it will happen. I guess they feel threatened. That’s why it’s so cool that someone like Neil Gaiman will be involved (he’s one of the pep-talk people).

Again, I don’t know if I’ll achieve 50,000 words this year.  I do know I’ll have fun and maybe even grow a little as a writer.

Anyhow Rob, if you have some free time and want to get crazy, you should try NaNoWriMo. If not, that’s OK too.  Thanks for providing me with the inspiration for this post, though!