The November Annual Challenge
I have had a couple people write me and ask me what I thought of the NaNoWriMo challenge that goes on every November.
Well, I think it’s fine as far as it goes. Anything to get writers motivated to write is a good thing in my book.
But at the same time, I often feel it is tragic. The people who push the challenge are so far down into the myths, they bode no other methods.
What they push is this: Write sloppy, train yourself to write sloppy because you can always fix it later.
And very, very few writers ever spend the time or have the energy to “fix” a sloppy worthless draft of a story. So those books end up in files, lost to time while the writer feels guilty for most of the next year because they never “fixed” their book.
There are a ton of reasons, mostly concerning the creative process, why most writers can’t go back and clean up and finish those books. Not getting into that here, but there is little doubt most of the challenge books never see the light of day.
That is tragic.
Yet the writers who write the sloppy draft feel happy that they could pound keys for 50,000 words in thirty days. Writing sloppy, most people could type far over a thousand words per hour. So fifty hours in thirty days.
About an hour and a half per day. Most people watch television for longer than that every day.
So I love that the challenge gets people writing. I hate that it teaches them to write sloppy, waste perfectly good writing time to create something no one will ever see and will be torture for the writer to fix. That’s a great way to tell your brain that writing isn’t fun.
So now we are in the middle of the month-long challenge. It is not too late for some writers to cycle back, clean up the sloppy and finish the book clean.
And when you are done, send it to one first reader, get it copyedited (not edited), then get it out to real readers, meaning publish the thing and start the next book.
Writing is a ton more fun if you only write one draft and finish your story cleanly.
And that is my mixed opinion of the NaNoWriMo challenge.