The writing life.

So there’s this thing called National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it’s known to the hip writing crowd) that the blogosphere is all excited about this month. It is, in essence, a personal challenge that one takes on to write a complete novel (of at least 50,000) in 30 days. Obviously, the focus is on numbers, not good writing. In fact, the NaNoWriMo website says, “Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality.” Eek! I can’t imagine writing a novel without constantly editing, thinking, tweaking.

But, for all of us would-be novelists, the idea is a seductive one. Write a whole book in only one month! Over 59,000 folks took on the challenge last year, and an astonishing 10,000 people finished successfully. Which leaves me to wonder what percentage of the 10,000 books that came out of this test are total garbage.

I thought about doing NaNoWriMo, but ultimately decided to pass. I actually enjoy agonizing over every word, taking the time to fully develop characters, picking out the one phrase that perfectly describes what is happening. To all of those writing their full novel this month, I say “Good Luck!” I admire your sense of challenge. You are brave. For those who make it to the end of November with a full novel, I even envy your accomplishment.

But, I’ll be doing what I do…writing a page a day, whittling away slowly at my Great American Novel.

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4 thoughts on “The writing life.

  1. Hi there,

    Thanks for the nice comment. You’re definitely choosing the better route here (i.e. writing at your own pace and actually generating some good prose :-)). Good luck on your novel!


  2. Yep, you’re totally right… most of the finished NaNoWriMo novels are probably pure crap. But the nice thing is that if you can finish it, you can always go back and revise and edit (and revise and edit and revise and edit) 🙂

    I’ve taken up the challenge and seem to be doing okay. Though I wonder how long it will last 😉 Enjoy your novel writing!


  3. I also enjoy agonizing over every word. That’s probably why my word count’s so low 🙂

    Turth is, I wouldn’t be writing a novel if it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, so I guess that’s a good thing.


  4. NaNoWriMo is what I need to get over my anal tendency to overedit. It is just 2 pages a day. It is beyond writing beautiful prose – which pretty much anyone can do. Lit departments are full of students who write pretty prose. Writing is also about reaching a place inside of you and staying with it, intensively.


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