Good afternoon, Arrowheads! So, over the past month, thousands of writers have been putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their NaNoWriMo projects, trying to dig 50,000 words out of their souls and slap them onto paper before November 30th hits. While that’s a noble effort for some writers out there, I personally have never participated in NaNoWriMo and most likely won’t in the future. Here’s why:
1. Writing Time Constraints and I Don’t Mix Well:
Back in elementary and high school, we had to take Writing Tests every few years to assess where our writing skills were. The test required students to write an essay based on a prompt and/or prompts the test makers chose.
There were several rules students had to follow to receive top scores on the test, and the test was timed. Though I have been involved in creative writing since I was seven, I never scored the highest level–a 4–on the Writing Test, though my writing endeavors had always been received with praise from my teachers. Needless to say, the Writing Tests, which judge the ability to stick to the prompt rules over that of actual writing quality, left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you didn’t get the whole thing written within the time limit, points were deducted. The whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to pen an entire novel (or 50,000 word equivalent) in a month’s time.
To quote one of my all-time favorite movies, Toy Story 2, “you can’t rush art”.
Just like those dumb Writing Tests in school couldn’t rush a good essay out of me (even though I had the ability to write one), NaNoWriMo will not produce my best work. I’m the kind of writer who likes to slowly marinate in my WIPs, to really get to know the story and characters before hacking away for an ending. A 30-day time crunch is not going to allow my creative juices to flow, but instead just crush my juice pouch. XD That’s just for me personally, though. Others have and will continue to survive the time crunch with awesome final products.
2. It’s a Writer Trend and I Don’t Do Trends
*Tosses hair over shoulder* Not that I’m a hipster or anything, but most of the time when something is popular and “anyone who’s anyone” likes it/does it, my stubborn little butt will make a point of not jumping on the bandwagon.
And it’s not entirely because I think NaNoWriMo is a fad that will pass in a few years; tons and tons of writers are helping maintain its longevity. My problem with NaNoWriMo as a “trend” is that many writers treat NaNoWriMo participation and/or success like a status token for being *game show host voice* The Ultimate Writer.
I make a point of not reading my Twitter feed during NaNoWriMo to avoid the endless posts about stressing over daily word counts. I feel like there’s this stigma where if you don’t get your word count or don’t participate at all that you’re considered “a fake writer”.
Guys, a “real writer” is anyone who makes up stories and puts them down on a page. If you’ve got a story to tell, you’re a writer. Period. Don’t let all of that technical hoo-ha get you down. 😉
3. I Can’t Cram NaNoWriMo into my Schedule
Kudos to the writers who can creatively make time in their busy schedules (or for others, make use of extensive time in their not-so-busy schedules) to successfully make it through NaNoWriMo. If I still had the schedule I had in high school or college, I might would take on the challenge for the heck of it. But, the main reason I will not even attempt NaNoWriMo is due to my schedule.
From 8 to 5, I have a full-time job. Monday through Friday, I have two nights (Monday and Tuesday) that I can solely dedicate to writing endeavors, and I’m usually not home on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until 10-ish. I usually go to bed at 11:30-ish and wake up anywhere from 6:00 to 6:20.
Granted, I could get some writing done on those 10:00 nights before bed, but by that time I’m usually tired as all get out and would rather relax and read. So, you see, a daily writing schedule will not work for me at this point in my life, and I’d rather not add more stress to my already anxiety-ridden plate. If writing was my full-time job, I would definitely consider doing NaNoWriMo more. But, for now, the chances are slim to none.
Talk to me, Arrowheads!
Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? What are its pros and cons? Do you think it’s a good investment of your time?
Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.