Bah Humbug!

Is it just me? I’ve been browsing the latest posts with the writing tag and it seems like half are to do with this NaNoNuNah thing.

I think I understand the concept but it leaves me cold.

Maybe I’m just fundamentally too lazy to sign up to the concept of writing 1,637.56 words every day for a month.

But it also smacks of some kind of masochistic glorified school project. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the spontaneity?

I write because I want to write. I also write when I have something to write. Some days I can happily write 5,000 words – and know that most of it is good. Other times I’ll struggle to write anything.

Writing is like any other form of exercise, mental or physical: you need to practice to get better. But NaNoWriMo just seems too artificial.

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8 responses to “Bah Humbug!”

  1. hghtashbry says :

    I think alot of it is the fact that some people need that “push” to start writing and they also need the motivaton to keep writing. I personally don’t set goals for myself so something like NaNoWriMo that sets goals for you helps me out a bit. For me, it’s more about saying I tried than actually completing it. :-/

    • Huw Thomas says :

      I understand the ‘push’ thing… I certainly need a kick up the backside on a regular basis. But I just can’t get to grips with the idea that people can be that consistently creative for a month.
      I’m worried on two counts: either there are too many writers out there who are way better than me or lots of people are going to write tens of thousands of mediocre words when they’d be better advised trying to write less and to concentrate on the quality of their writing rather than the word count.

  2. constantwriterjl says :

    I had to post on this one because I’ve been doing Nano for 3 years running and I really love it. (I’m in year 4 now, and I’ve just logged my first 2500 words of the month!)
    For me, it’s not just about the push. I don’t need Nano to write a novel. I just finished 50k words on my own, but it took me 3 months instead of one. I think Nano started out as that “just do it” thing for people who hadn’t written much before and wanted a way to get it done in a fun, motivational, competitive way.
    Since then, it’s really evolved into a community of writers, young and old, who are not there to churn out poor quality novels just for the heck of it, but rather, to share in the experience of writing because it’s an experience that not everybody really can have or wants to. In my neck of the woods, wrimos meet up, write up, and keep the nano spirit going year round with regular events and social media sharing. It’s really a close-knit group.
    Nano is fully committed to the “shitty first drafts” concept a la Ann Lamott, If you’re able to put together a decent story with Nano, great! Polish it, edit it, try to publish it if that’s your goal! If it didn’t turn out so well, there’s always next year and you did do something worthwhile–you practiced writing a story even if it didn’t quite come together in the end.
    It’s a great exercise for beginning writers to get into the habit of writing and get a good routine or strategy going, but it’s also great for seasoned writers who enjoy the challenge and community that comes with it.
    Anyway, there’s my 2 cents (or maybe it counts for more since it was such a long comment!).

    • Huw Thomas says :

      That’s me told, then! 😉
      I didn’t realise NaNoWriMo had been going that long. I’ve never been involved in writing groups – maybe partly because I’m a cynical old loner but also probably due to having spent most of the past four years living in Portugal where it’s difficult to find English language books let alone fellow writers.
      I’d not even heard of NaNoWriMo until a few months ago and found all this fevered excitement a bit overwhelming.
      And, yes, that was at least 5 cents worth but thank you for it!
      (Some of my posts are a bit tongue in cheek as I like to stir up a lively debate from time to time – as long as people don’t take me too seriously.)

  3. nrhatch says :

    You’re not alone! But I do feel that Constant Writer’s well-reasoned defense is worthy of a read.

    What it boils down to is WHY we are jumping on the bandwagon?

  4. Katie says :

    I totally agree with you! I found myself asking the same questions–that’s why I had to write about it. I love how you described the whole thing as being artificial, it is isn’t it? There’s something that isn’t authentic about being told when to write your novel and buying into it. Love the title of this post, too. 😉

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