With the surplus of Camp NaNoWriMo posts on WordPress this month, several writers have made sure that everyone knows they loathe the event.
That’s fine. Hate it. You don’t have to like it, or use it, but don’t judge the people who do.
Most of the arguments against NaNoWriMo are as follows:
1. A “real” novel is more than 50,000 words
2. Quality writing cannot possibly be produced in such a short period of time
3. A “real” writer doesn’t need a big event to make them write.
Well, you got to say what you think in your blogs, so here’s what I think in mine:
1. No, 50k words is not a novel length story. It’s a novella.
Who. Gives. A. Crap?
Some people go on to write more after the month, some write less. Some write 50k words, feel good about themselves, and stop mid-sentence because they’re so freaking tired of writing. It’s about setting a goal, not producing a publishable novel in 30 days.
2. No, a publishable novel cannot be completed in a month. That doesn’t mean that a great novel can’t be started in 30 days. I knew someone who had a forty page outline written before NaNoWriMo one year. He’d practically written a novel in the planning stages, so hitting 50,000 wasn’t a huge challenge for him. That book was published the next year and I was astonished at how good it was.
Then again, participating in NaNoWriMo also doesn’t mean that the person plans on publishing their novel. I don’t think most people go into NaNoWriMo thinking, “I’m going to write the great American novel and publish it in December and be super rich and famous.” Sure, there will always be some who do, but those people are a minority. If you don’t want to read their unedited book, don’t buy it on Amazon when they rush to print it the next month.
Many go into it with an idea and excitement to be part of a community for a month. Which leads me to …
3. Not everyone who participates in NaNoWriMo is trying to write for a living. It’s a tool that different people utilize in different ways, whether they’ve been plotting a novel for a year and are using the month as a motivator to get started, or they’re a person who always wanted to write a book, and thought they’d give it a shot. NaNoWriMo is about showing that anyone can write a book if they want to. Most of the people I know who have participated felt like they’d accomplished something, and never looked at the book again.
I occasionally use it because I like getting to know people during the month. I went into it once with no plan, and one challenge to myself: write something out of my normal genre. I ended up surprisingly happy with the story I wrote, and two years later, I know it’s not ready for the world, despite multiple rewrites and new drafts. The victory was internal. I never would have pushed myself to write out of my genre if it hadn’t been for NaNo. I only kept at it because of my friends on Twitter, who encouraged me to continue. I learned something from the experience, and then went about my life.
Participate in (Camp) NaNoWriMo if you want, and don’t if you don’t. Stop being so judgmental. Why can’t we be happy for people who have found something healthy and legal that makes them happy?