So November is coming up quickly and it’s been coined ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a helpful link to Wikipedia)
Don’t get me wrong, I think NaNoWriMo is great… in concept. It promotes writing. It gets people involved. It raises awareness about how difficult a task it is to write a novel. These are great things. The pitfall of Nanowrimo however, is that it’s only a month long. One month out of twelve each year the participants and supporters of Nanowrimo are encouraged to write. This makes me question if the majority of these people bother to pick up a pen or type up a manuscript at any other time of the year…
I’m sure there are all kinds of Nanowrimo-er’s out there; those that only write once a year and those that write all year long and simply use Nanowrimo as a chance to do something different with their process and connect with other writers while doing it. But I have to admit that I have little respect for those that write only because it is fashionable to do so in the month of November.
What about the rest of the year? How are you supposed to get any better at writing, or crafting a novel, if you only rush to do it for 30 days out of 365? Anyone can type out 50,000 words in a month, especially if they’re not too picky about the larger picture those words form. I get that the idea is to just get the story out and then supposedly go back to it and edit later, which is a viable way of doing things, it’s just not the only way of doing things.
Personally, I prefer to write every day, or as often as I can. I write all year long, taking time to edit or market, or format whenever I need to. Typically it has been my tradition to take November off from writing as a means of recharging, but last year I was too focused editing Mirror’s Hope to do that and this year it seems that I’m right in the thick of a new writing project and don’t want to take time off from it.
So, this year, I am going to write during the month of November, but I’m not going to be doing it for Nanowrimo and I won’t be trying to reach some lofty word-count goal each day or for the month as a whole. I will write every day because I choose to and I will write as much as my time and imagination allow me to. I don’t feel I need to force myself to stick to an arbitrary deadline of a specific word count to be respected by the writing community. I’ve already proven that I can write a novel… (or six) and it’s ok by me if it takes me three months, or five, or even a whole year to do it.
So if you want to write, write. Don’t wait for November to do it and don’t stop when November’s over. Just write and keep writing. Don’t let writing a novel be reduced to yet another thing we do just to fit in.
Having written a good novel is supposed to make you stand out.