Blog No. 104

November is a busy time for me – this year especially. I no longer have to worry about exams (thankfully) but the push I tend to make in September is in full swing, so wiring, editing, and designing tasks pile up. Then I have to worry about Christmas. Christmas is a big deal in my family. My mother takes is very seriously and it’s one of the few times a year that my entire family is all together. Plans are made early and help and attention is needed everywhere. I tend to start my shopping in November, but I try to push everything else back as close to the day as possible. In December I’m also playing Best Man to my best friend’s wedding, so between making plans for that (out of town) and a bachelor party (further out of town) I have to get a suit, write a speech and hone my ping pong skills.

It’s all very exciting and exhausting and on top of it all, November is National Novel Writing Month. I suppose the national is US, but it’s spread over to Canada and to many other countries. From all around me I have friends and colleagues asking me if I’m going to take part in NaNoWriMo. The simple answer is no. I have no interest in feverishly spending my days scribbling down as many words as I can in the hope of reaching that magic 50 000 word count and entering my story into the official contents. I have too much to do and a lot of that is writing the projects I currently have on the go. I don’t need to take time off of work to dedicate to something I probably won’t finish and if I do, won’t be happy with.

I understand the idea behind the event. It started (if my facts are right) by a group of established writers who repeatedly answered the question “How do I become a writer?” with write every day. They then realized that they didn’t necessarily follow that particular piece of advice. They decided to dedicate a month to writing every day and it evolved into trying to write a novel in that time. At least that’s the apocryphal version of the story. People like to have goals and be part of things. NaNo gives them the motivation, or team spirit, or an exclusive, artistic endeavor to snootily hold over other people (people who probably don’t car in the first place). Or maybe it’s just something to talk about (themselves) with their peers as they sip on their drink that no one has ever heard of.

As I’ve said many times, I’m not a joiner. Virtual (or physical) badges mean nothing to me and being part of a movement, group goal, or local events is not my cup of tea. That said, a lot of people wait all year for NaNo and take full advantage of what the contest has to offer. If it fits in with what other people like, great. Community, com-shmunity I say – I won’t be there. I do know quite a few other writers who do their own sort of November write-a-thon. They use the established contest as a theme to redouble their efforts and try to produce more words than they normally do. I can get behind that, but like I said, I start that process in September, so by now I’m already rolling along.

In fact, Christian and I are sitting on our finished first draft of our collection. It’s terrible and needs a lot of work, but we made the final push and got it ready for editing. I managed to do that without any contest or community event. I may have needed the prodding and assistance of Adventure Worlds, but we generally do our own thing and let people come and go according to their own whims. It’s a community of sorts, I guess, but more of friends with common goals who support each other the best they can. We happen to be traveling the same road and bought a few supplies to share along the way. The goals are our own and we are building something away from the commotion going on elsewhere. Hopefully it will end up being of interest to people and they’ll come check out what we’ve made, or join in and make something along side us. But we aren’t that kind of community and I don’t take part in NaNoWriMo.

So I’m not a hypocrite.

4 thoughts on “NaNoWri-No

  1. Christian Laforet

    Oh NaNoWriMo, you taunt me every year by making writing a novel sound so easy. I tell myself that I’m gonna go for it, and then Dec rolls around and I’m looking at the thousand or so words I’ve managed 😦

  2. Yeah Ben!!! – I cannot imagine myself writing with the intent of putting out XXXX words daily for a month. I never thought of word count as being the incentive to write a noel. A good story takes time, research and a lot of trial and error. The whole concept of NaNoWriMo leaves me shaking my head. When did writing become a production line. I have a life and I don’t have an entire month free anytime in the next few years. Glad I’m not alone – sounds like you already have enough planned as well. Good luck with your collection.

    1. I’m glad I’m not alone! You are right, writing is about so much more than hitting a word count. We all have other responsibilities and goals. Why would we drop that for someone else’s idea of writing?

      Christian and I are really excited for the collection, thanks. Hopefully we’ll have news in the new year.

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