DISCLAIMER: This is my first NaNoWriMo so I’ve never participated before and therefore cannot tell you what the experience is like. Hence, the title of this article is, “Why I Love the Idea of NaNoWriMo.” I’ll be happy to come back and write a finishing piece once I’m done!
Who doesn’t love to hate on popular topics? C’mon. You’ve done it at least once.
My favorite football team is the University of Alabama, and believe it or not, we weren’t always a National Championship team. When I was in school, we lost the Iron Bowl for several years to Auburn University and I never heard the end of it. But, Nick Saban was hired in 2007 and we started winning. A lot.
First the Iron Bowl, then National Championships. I started to hear of several people from outside the state proclaiming, “Crimson Tide!” Then came the opposition that Alabama was a terrible team. They were the team to hate.
But if you aren’t in national college football see Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, or 50 Shades of Grey for similar results.
So, it came as no surprise to me that there would be articles dedicated to arguments against NaNoWriMo.
“NaNoWriMo produces crap writing.”
“NaNoWriMo encourages people to write every day without a thought to story structure, plot development, etc.”
“NaNoWriMo is just a party of cotton-headed ninny-mongers.”
Ok, I made that last part up but you get my point.
But I strongly disagree with the above-mentioned points. The reason I love the idea of NaNoWriMo is the strong, experienced community.
Some published writers say that writing is a solo venture. I agree that you shouldn’t write at a raging party until 3am, but I disagree that the best writer writes alone. But, hey, maybe that’s where you get your best ideas. I won’t judge.
This doesn’t mean that you should have a buddy in the room with you while you write, but you might find it prudent to reach out to a mentor or fellow writer for opinions or recommendations on your story. Maybe you just want to bitch about your character and how they won’t easily bend to your will. Whatever floats your boat.
I’ve often compared writing to running. I consider anyone with the will to go outside/inside and run for any period of time at any distance a runner. After all, it’s such an easy sport to get into given you have two legs and naturally run for different reasons anyway. No training needed!
But to become a good runner, you must be disciplined. You sign up for a race and you train for it.
Some people train by running every day, a few times a week, or depending on the distance, not at all. When you run a race, everyone has the same goal – to finish.
Races are electric. Crowds gather to cheer family members or strangers with large signs, and during the early cool hours of fall races, with blankets and warm cups of coffee. Each runner is experiencing a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Ready or not, race time is here. The runners approach the start line, each sectioned into different time divided by pace. The alarm sounds, sending each wave of runners past the starting line, and once you reach the line yourself, it’s go time!
NaNoWriMo reminds me of a race, and each person I meet is a fellow runner, not a competitor. As I said before, the goal of a race such as a 5k or hell, even a marathon, is not to finish first but to finish period. We cheer each other on and discuss our plots like running buddies swapping tips on athletic shoes.
I feel each person’s energy through the forums and social media as we anxiously await November 1 to arrive.
We haven’t even started and I’ve met so many kind and intelligent people who have given me a number of invaluable resources. We all range from first-time authors to people editing their fifth novel.
Even though NaNoWriMo is about writing a novel, there are several people working on other projects whom we call NaNo Rebels. Some are editing or reworking previous novels, and I even saw someone suggest that they would write 50,000 words worth of blog posts throughout the month.
The point is that everyone has their own method of completing NaNoWriMo. I plan extensively, but someone else may hardly plan at all and they’re a published author.
Does this mean I should drop outlining and follow someone else’s example to be published? No. The beauty and sometimes tragedy of life is that everyone is different and we must lead our own journey. I’m going to find what works best for me and share my knowledge, but I encourage you to find what is best for you.
I know writing is a long process like anything I’ve ever wanted to do in life, and I willingly signed up for it. I have a story to tell and I chose to do NaNoWriMo to help me light a fire under my ass instead of lamenting over the next six months on how I just wish I could start my novel.
I hope I can finish my word count in November, but if I can’t that’s ok! I’ll keep trying until I finally finish. I actually want to write more than 50,000 words for my novel, but I’m starting with a mini-goal of finishing NaNo.
Discouraging someone from joining NaNo because it won’t lead to publication is like discouraging someone from running a 5k because they’ll never finish a marathon. I tried training for a marathon once, and holy crap never again. But it’s never going to stop me from running the shorter distances.
After all, shitty novels exist without the distinction of going through the Nano process.
I will acknowledge that NaNoWriMo is not for everyone. Maybe you do better alone and without all the hullabaloo, and that’s great! Like I said, everyone has their own journey.
But don’t discourage the rest of us from answering the call. Just cheer for us, and we’ll see you at the finish line.
Why do you love NaNoWrioMo? If not, what’s your stance? Comment below or email me at email@example.com!
Nicole C. Thomas
Nicole is a writer working on her first novel Samantha Darkened, created during NaNoWriMo 2016. She writes weekly posts regarding books, writing, and mental illness. She has an interesting sense of humor which includes a love of alliteration and puns.