No-no NaNoWriMo

Yes, November is upon us again, and everyone's all "Whee! NaNoWriMo! Whee!" And they invite me to do it, and they expect me to do it. At this point NaNoWriMo has been pounded into people's heads so hard that even when I am working on a novel at some totally other time of year, folks will ask me if I am writing it for NaNoWriMo, or they will tell me that I surely must have written it for NaNoWriMo, because it's impossible to write novels except during NaNoWriMo, which is why no novels were ever written before it was invented.

With any luck, I will start writing Trials sometime this month, and I fully expect to be asked if I am doing it as part of NaNoWriMo at least a dozen times. So: NO. I do not participate in NaNoWriMo. I never thought it sounded like a good idea, and the more experience I have with the people who do it, the less I like it. If it has benefited you, that is wonderful, but to my mind something like NaNoWriMo generally leads not only to bad writing, but to bad attitudes about writing. Cranking out 2,000 words a day, day after day, is (to paraphrase Truman Capote) not writing; it's word processing. Honestly I think National Story Outlining Month would be a hell of a lot more useful.

I wrote about this earlier, and I'm going to quote myself, because I am just that egocentric: "Once you've written something, it's easy to get attached to it, especially if you made this huge push and didn't sleep or socialize for the entire month of November in order to meet your 50,000-word quota. No one wants to hear, 'Sorry, dude, back to the drawing board!' after that--it's like going on a huge diet and being very good and losing 80 pounds, and then having the doctor tell you that, no, you did it the wrong way, you need to gain back 70 pounds and then lose it again. But good job on those 10 pounds! The doctor really liked those, and he thinks you show great promise."