Friday, October 29, 2010

Do you really need NaNo?

You've always heard that it's the fastest way to make money ever, and hey, why not jump on that bandwagon? You obviously write the best material known to man - it'll make Ernest Hemingway's pap look like goose turds! I mean, come on! JK Rowling will be on your speed dial! You'll call Stephen King your BFF! You just have to write it and your fabulosity will be known to the world, as it should be!

Is NaNo for you?

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say no.


In all honesty, if you look at your sentences and think that you are the Next Great American Novelist, I would humbly ask you to sit back, stop smoking whatever you're on and think a spell.

Most writers work a long time on their novels. Think about them longer. (I mean, I had the idea for POSSUM SUMMER like what, 20 years ago? I knew I couldn't write it back in the day) Work on their skillset, their way to tell a story, their everything. What they don't work on is their ego.

Ego will kill a writer.

I can't tell you how many writers I've worked with whose ego has far exceeded anything they've managed to finish. Ones that don't want to edit, because "they know best". Ones that irritate agents with rants and make the process harder for writers who really try to improve and treat agents and editors like the humans they are. The ones that talk about their craft so much I puke.

These people, these egos, I will say, respectfully: they are not needed.

Save NaNo for the people who try to finish that book they have inside them. You've started a book a few times, set it aside when you didn't know what you wanted to do? You've had an idea for the coolest book ever and want to write it, just don't have the time? That is what NaNo is for.

To strive for the beauty of the book, not the stroking of the ego.

You? Know anybody like that? And will you be doing NaNo?


  1. Great take on the subject! I wrote a post about this today on my blog, too. What does a writer truly get out of it? A writer can grow and hone the craft by participating, but I think caution must be used, a plan set in place.

    Ego..yup, that would be a killer not just in writing but in life in general. For me, NaNo could possibly be a confidence killer. I'm constantly questioning my skills, etc... I just didn't think we would be a good fit, you know??

  2. Thanks Salarsen!

    I'm not doing it either, and I've read your post. Great one!

  3. I hadn't heard of NANO until two yeara ago, as is typical of how far behind I am in most aspects of modern life, and I've never done it. I can't produce that many words a day because I edit as I write. That method works for me and I'm sticking with it.

    I worry about new writers who do participate but can't get anywhere near the word count. I hope they don't feel as if they've failed, because it really doesn't work for everyone. You have to find your own writing style. What works for some doesn't work for all.

  4. I'm not doing it either. I work full time and wouldn't have enough time to write so much in a month. Plus I write much slower than that and need to revise as I go. Thanks for making me feel like I'm not the only one not participating.

  5. it's my first year to participate. i'm not necessarily word-hungry; i'm just using it as a source of consistency. it's to help me dedicate an entire month to nothing but the novel. i, too, work full time. i find myself having to split my freetime in several different sections: surfing this night, writing that night, research the next night, etc. so, for me, NaNo will be a time for dedication to my story and nothing else for an entire month. i am always writing my story, whether jotting brainstorms, editing drafts, or scribbling out another "scene" in my journal that never leaves my side. we all have our ways. that's what makes us unique writers. and, if i only reach 5,000 words or 500 words, i will be satisfied knowing that those are words added to the story that had not been on the page before.

  6. I think it's a really fun concept and think anyone who enjoys writing should give it a try. (This coming from a writer who participated for the first time last year and then had to bail when I found out I was pregnant - ha!)

    After all, there are worse ways to spend one's time than writing, and being around other creative types can be the inspiration one needs to stay the course. I think the ego-problem comes after the writing is done. What we need is a NaJanRevMo, where everyone who wrote a book in November sits on it a month and then gets serious about revisions.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!