Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No, No NaNoWriMo

Once again it's National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short), and once again some co-workers tried hard to convince me to participate, and once again I said "no."

There are things I like about the idea of setting the goal of writing a novel in a month; heck, that's basically what I did when I wrote In a Cabin in the Woods a couple of years ago.* But there are a couple of things about the NaNoWriMo set-up that serve as a stumbling block for me.

The first is general philosophy of "quantity over quality." For NaNoWriMo purposes, all that matters is meeting that final word count, with no regard to clarity of prose or cohesion of plot or consistency of character or the like; in fact, if you were to follow the NaNoWriMo guidelines strictly, there would be absolutely no editing or rewriting during the course of the month.

That would drive me insane.

Granted, I often used the "just write something to write something" approach on In a Cabin, due to trying to meet my artificially selected due date, but more often than not this would just be a way to storm past the writers block, and I'd then go back and tinker with the clunky stuff to make it work better. But to spend all month just pushing ahead, never looking back . . . *shudder*

The other big stumbling block in the timing; why oh why did they pick November? Not only is there a major holiday which requires major travel time for many -- not to mention all of the Thanksgiving themed activities done with friends before going off to see family -- but it's Sweeps time. Sweeps! The magical month when all of the TV shows trot out their big plot contrivances and over-hyped guest-spots and super-cheesy gimmicks in hopes of briefly sprucing up their number in an antiquated ratings system! How can I write much of anything when the siren call of crass commercialism is clamoring for my attention?

Of course, there's also my borderline-obsessive nature to consider, since it would surely go into full swing if I attempted something like this, which at this point would be a bad thing. I have recently enlisted the aid of my fellow HyperForcers to keep my on track with my goal to get in shape; the last thing I need is something else sticking me behind the computer screen for even more hours each day.

And, every time I start to waver in my resolve and think "maybe I can play catch-up," I listen to my coworkers discuss how stressed they are because their novels aren't turning out the way they want, and they really want to go back and edit, and there just isn't enough time in the day to get everything done, and then the certainty that I've made the right call is reestablished.

*Man, it's hard to believe that was two years ago; how time flies, eh?


Katie said...

482 words is a good start-only 49,518 more to go.

Bubblegum Tate said...

November is a seriously crap month for what is otherwise a really clever and fun idea.

Let's be counter culture revolutionaries and declare...I don't know, March is a pretty boring NaNoWriMo. At least for two people. We live in different states, that's national.