November and late fall mean many things to many people. For a subset of writers all over the world, November is the month of creative abandon, frantic word-count stuffing, gleeful late nights in front of the computer or analogue documentation device (notebook), and spirited write-ins. AKA, NaNoWriMo, now an institution in the world of creative content generators. It’s a time of year where the opportunity to write, write, and write some more is more than appealing—it’s a celebration of creativity and craft!
Though most of the buzz surrounding NaNoWriMo is positive, there are still those who take issue with the event for one reason or another and fall into the Na-NOPE camp. A lot of these boil down to personal writing style/preferences, and that is legit. I’ve seen comments noting that the projects resulting from such fast-paced writing fall prey to sloppy craft, inconsistencies, and other pitfalls. If you are striking out to create something that is solid right out of the gate, this argument holds water. Some people justifiably don’t approve of the aggressive timeline, noting that it cultivates unhealthy attitudes towards writing and hey, that also makes sense. Not everybody works the same way, and some people buckle under aggressive deadlines in ways that block them from writing altogether—NOT a good thing. Still others (this is the one that actually sticks in my craw) argue that using NaNoWriMo to write fanfic is cheating, as fanfic is “not real writing.”
That last one—that’s where I have to say my piece. If writing a 50K fanfic installment gets you in the writing chair, that’s fantastic! If it means more people are engaging with the community and actively writing, enriching their lives, then I’m all for it. NaNoWriMo is, at its core, an empowering organization that believes (and participates) in outreach and bringing creativity into the world at large. There are self-awarded badges now that show one’s pride in not playing by the traditional NaNo rules (not writing 50K, doing advance prep, etc.). There is even a separate event, Camp NaNoWriMo, that occurs in April and July and offers a much greater creative flexibility within some standard, set guidelines.
I have never once “won” NaNoWrimo. I have friends who, on the other hand, exceed the 50K by word-slides. I routinely have to set aside such an aggressive deadline for real life/health issues, and so on. But I always and forever have fun. It’s a celebration of what I love doing most, after all! And at the end of the month, even if I have “lost,” I have a reminder that setting writing goals is important. It gets a lot of us out of our creative blocks and back into the habit of writing (when possible) every day. So, at least for me, I say YES to NaNo and hope to happily wri the whole mo of November. OK, I’ll show myself out now.
What are you all working on this year? Happy writing to all, whether you participate in NaNoWriMo or not!