Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Are We Waiting for

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, that crazy venture in which you write 50,000 words of a consecutive narrative thread in 30 days). The NaNoWriMo motto is The world needs your novel.

I don't know whether the world needs my novel, but I do know that every November for the last 5 years, I considered participating in NaNoWriMo but didn't follow through.

This year I am doing NaNoWriMo. Or I should say I did NaNoWriMo, because I'm done.

In the first 7 days I wrote 20,661 words. As of midnight yesterday, I had written 50,425 words, which means I finished the novel and accomplished what I had set out to do. (Almost. I'd set myself the ridiculous goal of 50,000 words in 15 days. So I was a day late.) 

NaNoWriMo critics will agree with Laura Miller of Salon who says "I am not the first person to point out that 'writing a lot of crap' doesn’t sound like a particularly fruitful way to spend an entire month, even if it is November." (To which one might be tempted to respond thusly.) I would agree with Laura Miller that if a writer is using some of the silly tricks I've seen for completing NaNoWriMo, such as adding a nonsense word ("potato") after every word in order to pad the word count, it's potato pretty potato much potato a why-bother potato exercise potato.

Certainly writing fast doesn't always mean writing badly. Mental Floss provides a list of NaNoWriMo novels that got published.

As for me, I found the NaNoWriMo project a delightful and fruitful way to spend two weeks and a day.

If you are a writer who has considered participating in NaNoWriMo, I encourage you to do it.

Because if your novel offers the world your unique voice, your quirky perspective, your way of looking at and thinking about the world, and your story--the story only you can tell--then yes, the world really does need your novel.

We need all the stories we can get.