I came across another blog about NaNoWriMo the other day, seeking others’ opinions on whether it was a worthwhile endeavor or not. Some of the responses surprised me.
While some recognize it's an exercise in writing to stimulate their creative juices, others look down their noses at it. They insinuate that no one could possibly write a novel in a month, and anything written in that time must be garbage.
They obviously didn’t read the NaNoWriMo mission statement. Yes, the goal is to write nonstop, if possible, from November 1 through November 30. Yes, you will have some trashy parts you’ll need to cut. Hey, that’s what revision is all about.
Who writes a bestseller the first time through? Tom Robbins reportedly goes over and over and over and over each sentence meticulously until he’s satisfied it’s exactly the wording he wants. (Definitely not a NaNo-er.) All stories have to be edited. But, as author Jodi Picoult said, you can always edit a bad page, but you can’t edit a blank page. As a bestselling novelist, she should know.
And in fact, some of the books begun during NaNoWriMo have gone on to be published. It isn’t the fact that I’m participating in it that makes the difference, it’s the fact that I’m sitting down every day and making an effort to write. One of my favorite quotes is from author Barbara Kingsolver, who said: "Chain that muse to the desk and get the job done!" A credo echoed by Robert Ringer: “What separates professional writers from amateurs is that they take action and start putting words on the computer regardless of whether or not they are motivated. In my experience, after I force myself to start writing, a seamless transition takes place and I become motivated."
My current word count? As of yesterday, 12,485. Getting there! A feat, considering I switched stories after three days (I found the research I thought I’d lost! Woo hoo!)
As Ray Bradbury so aptly said: "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down."
So if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, and someone pooh-poohs your efforts, tell them to take a flying leap!