Sunday, October 31, 2010


I love the concept of NaNoWriMo. Give people a month to push through a rough draft of the book they always wanted to write. Inhibitions are tossed to the winds; you're writing alongside 130,475 others all over the planet who are just as clueless as you are. It's a safe way to be completely reckless.

Buzz around this event isn't always positive. Even tonight, writerly tweeters are slagging off this most proletariat of writing events.

This is unfair. Sure, the quality may not be great, but whose first draft is ever perfect? This sort of event can get first-timers into the groove of writing every day. Yes, it means more books, many of which are likely drivel, but a draft doth not equal a NYT Bestseller. But it could, and if NaNo is what sparks that genius to get going, then why not support it?

I agree that the website isn't great - it's cluttered, confusing, and a trove of forums, tips, hints, pep talks, and other motivational tools (i.e. procrastination tools) to coddle the new writer to victory. What's victory? 50,000 words by November 30. A solid start to a first draft.

But I think NaNo can also be a catalyst for those of us who aren't first-timers. My second year, 2007, I revised a book I'd written the year before. Last year I did another edit of Snakes. This is cheating, according to NaNo, as you're theoretically supposed to start something new. But it worked; I had new drafts by the end of November. Deadlines are good things.

This year I'm turning off my inner editor. I have a very difficult time with typos, grammatical errors, usage problems, all the tricky little polishing bits. Those don't need to be fixed right now. So I'm going to do my usual daily writing, but this time I'm not going to fuss over one line for fifteen minutes. I'm pushing forward and moving the story along. Editing comes later.

I'm starting with something new - it's plotted to a point, the characters are fleshed out, and I'm ready to roll. Good luck to everyone out there who is taking part.

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