Friday, November 05, 2010
Hello NaNo people! Welcome to day . . . 5? I've lost track of time. I woke up this morning wondering if I was going to survive this year's NaNo. It's been harder for me than usual in many ways.
But let's talk about a different sort of NaNo thing -- the usual negativity within and without the NaNo community.
My goals are not the same as most of the people doing NaNo. For many people, being able to write 50k in one month is a very difficult, and finding the time, energy, and understanding how to create something of that length is difficult and challenging. Challenges are good.
And that's why I challenge myself to do more. I have taken NaNo at its name -- to write a full novel during the month of November. For me, and the genres in which I write, 50k would not be enough. My goal is always to write at least one novel during November and I am using it to kick start off a long series of works. I'm having a great time leaping into the work. I have outlines, of course. I couldn't write this much if I didn't have a good, solid map of where I want to go.
So, of course, there are always the people who are angry and accusing -- you're cheating, you're lying, you obviously don't have a life or a job, etc. What they don't accepts is that anyone is willing to dedicate more time to writing (whatever their situation) then they can, will or even want to. Yes, my situation allows me to write more often -- and because of that it would be cheating to say I'm going to write 50k and it will be oh so difficult for me.
Some people have higher word counts. That's their personal challenges and they're having fun. Why should you belittle it? They're working hard to get those counts because that is what challenges them in writing.
Which brings us to the outside negativity.
You know, if NaNo was a month long cheese eating marathon, no one would make much of it. But because we are taking part in something that uses our brains, we're being ridiculed by elitist snobs who think they have any right to tell anyone how to spend November.
For many people, NaNo is a test flight to find out if they want to spend the time to grow wings and fly through their stories all year round. Many people never do more than come and leap off the cliff with us each year, writing for one month of 'literary abandon' and then waiting for the next November to join in the fun again. Others discover that writing 'fast' is not for them, and they step back from that cliff and find other ways to explore creativity. Not a few find out that writing is a lot more work than they thought and not for them at all.
And because of this, some people will rant about what we're doing.
They're being stupid. Straight out, without any doubt, stupid. Let them rant and wave their pathetic little "I be a real writer" banners for their other snobs to gather around. But don't forget to point them to this list: http://www.nanowrimo.org/publishedwrimos (Hmmm... none of my works are on there. Should get those added), and this: http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/1319026239/another-nano-nyt-bestseller
When you think about it, it's obvious that some of these people are just jealous. They will never allow themselves to stand on the midnight line and leap in with thousands and thousands of others from around the world, doing something creative just for the joy of it. They've bought into some college professor wannabe writer's idea of 'literature' and what it takes to be a real writer because it makes them feel oh-so-important when their own writing can't. For others, it's just a case of 'it's not what what I would do, so it can't be right.' They're being blind and judging an act and not the end result. Yeah, a lot of total crap is written during NaNo. It's never going to affect their lives. They'll never see it. It's unfortunate that some people writing during NaNo think they should send their first draft book off to the agent/publisher on December 1. But ya' know -- I read submissions for a while. The number may increase during November, but they're no worse than the majority of things from the rest of the year -- meaning badly written first drafts.
Let them have their little rants. It makes them feel smug and important.
To me, quite honestly, it is the negativity within the NaNo community that is worse -- the belief that if someone isn't doing exactly the same as the others, they shouldn't be allowed to take part.
This is my tenth year at NaNo. I have written (prior to this year) 22 NaNo novels and sold (or nearly sold -- one is pending) four of them, with several more almost ready to go out into the cold world of submissions. Three of those novels were just leap in and have fun with no intention of ever doing more with them. (Though, it turns out, one of those isn't half bad -- lol). The manuscripts from the later years are working through my long system of editing -- I don't rush anything but the first draft. I have written 1,614,217 words during November at the end of last year's NaNo. I have enjoyed every moment of it.
I hope the rest of you do, too. And I hope that you can realize we don't all have to be doing exactly the same thing to join in the fun.
And now -- yes, I'm going to go back to writing for a bit, then attack a pile'o'work -- and then write again. Because it is what I enjoy and I love flying with this first draft.
Current count? 38,748 and a little over 1/3rd of the way through the novel. Yay!