Don’t worry, I’m not a NaNoWriMo hater. (Hatin’ is bad.)
Sure, there are reasons not to like it. Agents, naturally, don’t relish the flood of half-baked queries they get on December 1. Some authors bristle at the notion that the unwashed masses will claim a place in their hallowèd pantheon after just thirty days of wild scribbling. I even hear a few of the dumber critics worrying that we need better books, not more books (as if the classics they revere sprang fully-formed out of Zeus’s forehead).
But the sheer joy and enthusiasm of the event outshines all these quibbles. It gets people writing, and that’s what matters. I live in a country where 25% of the population doesn’t read books. We need all the help we can get.
I love National Novel Writing Month.
Nevertheless, NaNoWriMo is about getting people past the notion that novel-writing is some insurmountable task. As someone who’s already written three novel drafts (and put two of them through lots of revision), I know I can do it. I’m there. The focus now is not on Getting It Done, but on Doing It Better.
Of course, it’s still possible to use NNWM as a sort of Five Hour Energy shot, giving you the burst you need to crank out the rest of that manuscript. I’ve done that in the past, and it works well. But for me, the overwhelming focus on word count only lends itself to first drafts, and at the moment, I’m revising. I’ve set myself a goal of getting this story ready for submission by Thanksgiving, so I can get back to working on the novel by December.
What do you think about NaNoWriMo? Have you done it before, and did it help you?