With November first looming there’s been a lot of talk about National Novel Writing Month in the twitterspheare. (As there is every year.)
Is Nano good, is it bad?
Do you do it, do you not do it?
Why it’s the enemy of writers everywhere.
Why it’s the godsend of all authors.
Every other person has an opinion on poor old Nanowrimo and all that backward and forward makes my head spin!
People on the pro-nano team say that writing alongside so many other enthusiastic peeps provides wonderful motivation for the worst procrastinator, not to mention a sense of camaraderie between participants who are all slogging away to reach the grand total of 50, 000 words in just 30 days (that’s roughly 1700 words per day). The Nano website sends daily emails on motivation, craft, and author success stories as well as providing forums and a handy dandy graph that tracks your progress — all pluses if you’re pro-nano.
The anti-nano team, however, say that anything written with that much haste can’t be good. That nano isn’t about quality, it’s about quantity. That 50k of utter drivel is worse than no words at all. And what’s with 50K anyway? The average novel length is 70-100k not 50. Most major publishers do not accept works under 70,000 words unless they’re children’s stories. Many naysayers also say that winning nano is no achievement. Just getting that draft out there isn’t the end of the line, so why celebrate prematurely? They also think that nano does more to discourage rather than encourage; that writers who set out to win nano and don’t make the 50 then give up and walk away with their spirits crushed. Or if they do win nano, they wind up with a piece of writing that’s an utter mess and completely ‘unsellable’.
I think there are a good points in both sides of the argument. Yes, 50K does not a novel make. Yes, first drafts are unsellable whether they’re written over the course of one month or one year. All first drafts need work to be a beautiful story. They need revision and editing and polishing. Yes, I think nano provides wonderful support and encouragement to what is otherwise a very lonesome and often hard journey. I also think that the type of writers who naturally draft slowly and do less revision, don’t really understand the other type of writers — those that naturally draft quickly, whether it’s national novel writing month or not and as such probably revise much more deeply than the slow drafters. Nor do they understand those writers who draft 50K of great writing. Fast. Here’s the thing…
We’re all different.
No two writers draft or write in the same way.
We all thrive off different process and maybe, just maybe, we should revel in that. Cause isn’t it amazing?!
So whether you’ll be nanoing or not this year, enjoy November and enjoy your first draft process. It’s an amazing accomplishment no matter how you do it.
Do you Nano?