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October 11, 2010

November is National Novel Writing Month or “NaNoWriMo” as it’s popularly called.  Until a few years ago I’d never heard of this thing, but now every year people get jacked about it.  And every year I yawn and say, “Meh.”

The point of the thing is for everyone who participates to write a “novel” of 50,000 words in one month.  Some people do this and some people don’t.  I never bother to do this for a couple of very good reasons:

  1. I write on my own schedule.
  2. I can write 50,000 words standing on my head (or I could if I could stand on my head)

In regards to #1, I like to keep to my own schedule and I do not practice novel writing bigamy.  In other words, I can only work on one novel at a time.  If I finished the one I’m working on now by the end of the month (which I won’t unless I work around the clock) and started another one then I could do that.  Otherwise, screw it.  That could probably be its own blog entry, but the short of why I don’t practice novel writing bigamy is that I find it hard to focus my creativity on multiple projects.  Even if I write notes or an outline for another story I start wanting to work more on that one and then the one I’m trying to write starts to suffer.

In regards to #2, I am a machine.  There’s no trick to it, really.  I don’t have a wife, kids, or a steady significant other.  I don’t drink or do drugs or have any other hobbies that consume a lot of my time.  In other words, writing is pretty much what I do when I’m not working or doing other mundane chores.  Basically I’m like the writing equivalent of the Terminator:  It’s what I do; it’s all I do!  And actually that’s pretty fucking sad.

But no, 50,000 words in a month is not a big deal for me.  I once wrote a 75,000-plus-word story in about 10 days.  This story is about 160,000 words and I wrote it in 3 weeks.  So 50K is not a challenge for me.

Am I saying that to brag?  No, because again I think it’s pretty fucking sad.  I mean if having a social life means you can’t write 50,000 words in a month then I say good for you.  I’d much rather have a social life than write 50,000 words in a month.

Someone else’s blog said that he did it because it’s like running a marathon and it’s fun to do it with other people.  I don’t really see that.  I’d feel like a ringer.  I wouldn’t want people giving me props or high fives for something that comes as easily to me as breathing air.  For me it’d be like Albert Pujols joining some office’s softball team–or like that episode of “The Simpsons” where Mr. Burns recruits 8 professional baseball players to beat the rival power plant’s team–just for the camaraderie and free beers.  It would be disingenuous on my part to act like I care when I don’t.

Of course I don’t want to discourage people from doing that if that’s what they think they need to do.  Some people need a gimmick like that to get the motivation to finish something or the warm fuzzy of people able to say, “I wrote a novel!”  (Of course I could give them a cold prickly back by saying, “Yeah, so did I.  When I was 12.  Big whoop.”)  I just hope these people aren’t doing it at the expense of their social lives, which again are far more important in the scheme of things than finishing a crappy novel.  (Consider that a Public Service Announcement.)  And yes 99.99999% of them will be crappy.

So I guess my strategy for next month is that I’m not going to get involved.  I’m not going to do it myself for the reasons above.  If you are doing it, at best you’ll get a lukewarm “Huzzah” from me.  I doubt that will affect anyone too much.

Maybe next year I can organize Anti-NaNoWriMo, where we try to write as little as possible over 30 days.  For me that would actually be a challenge.

Terrible Tips Tuesday is back with Thanks Giving, about how to properly react to a critique, which is do as I say and not as I do…


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