The question swirling around the writing community this weekend: Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I met each query with quick and simple ‘nope.’ Very few people asked why. Those who did are still waiting for my answer. Once upon a time, I was an advocate of NaNoWriMo and all of its trappings (daily word reveals, write-ins, and forums). Now, it leaves me cold.
Back in the dark ages, circa 2011 BB (before blog), NaNoWriMo was a chance feel like a professional writer. Pressured by a deadline and sweating daily word counts is exciting in theory, but in practice, it makes for some crappy writing. Perhaps this why it takes so long for our favorite big time authors to cook up our next literary fix.
My last NaNoWriMo manuscript took a YEAR to refine and polish. And it wasn’t just grammar. My voice fluctuated from day to day. The style was sloppy and the plot holes were large enough to swallow a McMansion. The massive effort it took to edit was not worth the month of artificial stress. Nothing good came of that 50k and it sits, unloved, in my hard drive, still hoping to be saved.
Many writers enjoy the camaraderie of NaNoWriMo. It is an excellent place to forge professional friendships and find people willing to exchange critiques long after November ends. I reaped these benefits, but even they couldn’t make the thirty day slog worth the price. It is better for me to eke out a few hundred words a day in the creepy recesses of the Far Backroom, than sling piles of horseshit while basking in the warmth of NaNOWriMo.