Monday, November 2, 2020

NaNoWriMo, Not For Me

REVISED REPOST but still important...

We are now on day 2 of the NaNoWriMo and there are a lot of authors out there just banging out words. According to the NaNoWriMo group, it is about word count and that is the only thing important. They argue that you can always go back and edit later. Personally, this is the worst thing I could ever recommend to any author, especially if you are trying to write a book. As the NaNoWriMo people describe, your goal is to have a 50,000 word "NOVEL" finished in a month. Unfortunately, what most end up with is 50,000+ words of complete drivel.

For many, this is a chance to feel motivated to finally get to writing that story they always wanted to write. From January 1 through October 31, authors, for some reason, found every excuse not to write. They procrastinated. They whined. They complained. Ahh, but November 1 rolls around and NOW they are going to write that amazing novel they talked about during the Rose Parade so many months ago. That's fine. Be motivated! Writers need to be motivated. But when it comes to NaNoWriMo, there are other issues. 

I heard one author who has been doing NanoWriMo for 10 years. She openly stated that she has still not gone back and editing any of the "Novels" she finished. But she has a lot of words written.

So what was the point? 

Among writing communities, there are also competitions where authors "SPRINT" during a set time block. Again, the idea is to write fast and worry about the editing later. And again, I would argue that this might not be the best approach.

Yes, we have to increase your writing speed. If all you can accomplish in a single day of writing is 5-6 pages of writing (and I am talking in a day) then you are probably not doing much. But if you are just going through the motions and writing fast WITHOUT thinking, this is not going to help you.
You need a plan of action. No, I am not saying you have everything scripted out in a full detailed outline, but you need to have a goal in mind for that day's writing. What is the goal of the chapter? What do the readers need to learn about the characters and the plot for that day. Take 10-15 minutes and figure this out.

I would say, yes. Speed writing and sprints is great for brainstorming. It is a chance for authors to purge their brains of a lot of ideas and let the good ideas surface to the top. In terms of quality work, this is not the best approach.

I don't know about you, but I live a busy life. If I blow three hours of writing and then have to go back and probably rewrite the whole thing, that first block of time was a waste. So the question is, why do people do this? Are there any good benefits.

There is another issue that many of these writers, I do believe, seem to be missing. If you do decide to be a professional writer and not a hobby writer, you will have deadlines. Your editor needs that manuscript by a certain time. Art departments are needing those Art Fact Sheets to complete their work. You cannot simply create excuses as to why you aren't meeting those deadlines. I hate to say it, but if you are someone who really only has this one month in you, every year, to be motivated to write, this might not be the career for you. 

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