As promised, the NaNo post. Keep in mind that this is the first time I participated and only found out about NaNo in September of this year. Now that we have ventured past the initial “thank-the-tiny-gods-that’s-over” phase, or for you comic fans–I like to refer to this as The Infinity War–we can proceed with settled emotions and stable minds. Still, I think the post-November phase is analogous to Darkseid’s omega. Without further ado, I present my opinion and the pros and cons. This will divide a lot of people, so, buckle up.
The pros: NaNoWriMo brings the Children of the Forest out of the wilds. In this manner, every closeted writer out there, from amateur to pro, appears to be participating. This is fantastic! I think there needs to be more events to bring out the freaks–I mean, uh, fellow writing enthusiasts. One thing I liked was meeting other writers who live just down the road from me. It’s nice to see so many of us clumped together in an area. I enjoyed the sense of comradery, the social aspect, to be able to talk to other old-souls about my passion for loved and hated story elements, and mainstream, cliched features. Further, it was charming to hole up with some of them in a room and write for hours.
Another nod for NaNoWriMo is the intent to write every day. Most writers I know on a personal level vary in their diligence and commitment to the vocation. For some, it’s a hobby and a badge of honor to be able to say, “I’m a writer.” Others are more genuine about the craft and would love all-day typing escapades, even sacrificing other things like watching TV, gym, dating, pamper-me-time, or trips to the local multiplex to catch a flick.
One final thought on people coming together is discovering how other writers work and perform the craft. It’s similar to joining a writer’s group and learning all there is to know from other spinners of the art. Like Pinterest, I never knew about/what it was until someone discussed the site in a random meeting. So, too, is it true for other methods and software and websites available to writers. Had I known about these resources years ago…
The cons to NaNoWriMo outweigh the advantages for me. This may hold true for many, and yet others may not be affected. To this, I say, to each their own.
Writing is a calling. Some heed while others deny. Still, some strive to be writers by sheer determination and become renowned. Stephen King anyone? Bursts of inspiration happen, but for most of us, it’s sitting down, marking out the allotted time, saying no distractions such as significant others, social media, and lame excuses to interrupt the process, and focusing on the task. For me, participating in NaNoWriMo was a distraction. I was more worried about updating a word count than enjoying the process of penning a story. I hate to use the phrase ‘I felt,’ but I found myself stressed out about meeting the looming word count bar. Further, the pyramid showing where I should be and where I was, didn’t help matters.
The deadline was another irking facet. Don’t get me wrong, I give myself deadlines, but reasonable and sensible ones. While at work, every three months I rotate to the night shift. During that time, I write an entire novel, edit, and add more detail as I go. You might ask, ‘then, what’s the big deal?’ Well, for starters, one month isn’t three. For November, my focus is on the word count, not the story or the quality of prose. The word count is what matters in November. This is not writing. The lack of quality in word-weaving is another factor. Some of you might say, “Well, that’s your fault.” You may be right, perhaps it is, but my attention is elsewhere. For me, crafting a novel is a journey. It doesn’t matter about a quota; it’s about the story in as many words as you wish. That means fewer, too. I’m a pantser at heart, and though I do outline more now than I did at the genesis of my craziness, I still leave a tremendous amount of room for pantsing. My outline consists of this:
Location: The Cellar (club)
Who: Main guy/girl + sidekick
Important note: Make sure they see (event/item/person)
Intent: kick a lot of ass.
And that’s about it. True, there may be a little more to my outlining, but you grasp the notion. There is a lot of room and leeway for it. In pantsing, I find my story, I discover my characters; this method reawakens my love for writing. During November, I determined I hated authoring, which should never happen. It’s a hot and heavy love affair that blows your mind and touches your soul each time … or at least it should be. This torrid relationship eluded me in November. I hated it.
Another aspect I didn’t expect was the one-up-manship towards the beginning of November. In some ways, you can toot your own horn, be it word count or how many years you’ve completed or how wordy your novel is. I detest people like this in all walks of life, not just NaNoWriMo. I befriend and enjoy the company of those who are gracious and humble and honest. Being around people like this, and those who offer an excuse for everything, is a huge turnoff. I am sure we all know of at least one person like this. Further, the one-up-manship bleeds over into the NaNoWriMo website.
Okay, my abridged opinion piece of NaNoWriMo. I am sure some will relate and others won’t. My most significant takeaway for November is not to change what works for you, which is the most crucial part. If NaNo brings out your best, please continue, and I wish you well. For those who came away disgruntled, what part didn’t work for you and why? I may not participate in NaNoWriMo next year, but rest assured, I will come out to all the meetings and attend. Making acquaintances with authors brings more benefits, like being able to talk about terrible atrocities to visit on characters in a restaurant full of gawking people. The noncombatants just don’t understand… as always, please leave a comment below.
Until next time.
If you enjoyed this content or you’re an avid, epic fantasy reader, check out my book, The Bearer of Secrets, on Amazon. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited, eBook, and print.