I’ve been reading a disturbing number of tweets and blog posts in the last few days from professional authors hating all over NaNoWriMo, not to mention the number of industry pros I see deriding it. The latter i understand. From conversations with industry pros, it has become clear to me that so many amateur writers send out queries on December 1 talking about their “NaNoWriMo novel” that the term has started to make industry folks a little twitchy. I saw a tweet the other day from an editor who said she hated spending a day putting together a “substantial developmental ed letter” for an author who just announced on Twitter that she was doing NaNo.
(Methinks this particular editor/writer pair need to have better ways of communicating, but I digress.)
What really bothers me is all the pro writers who feel the need to dump all over NaNo every year. So it’s not for you. Newsflash: It was never meant for you. It was not, in fact, designed to be for those people for whom writing is a day job, or a night job, or a sure thing of any kind. It was always supposed to be a fun game for the kind of people I often meet at cocktail parties, the kind who say, “I always wanted to write a novel.”
I have written thirteen novels, four of which I’d written before I’d ever even heard of NaNoWriMo. It obviously was not meant for someone like me. But I have participated in the game four times, not a one of which I ever even came close to winning. And for me, that’s not the point. I know I can’t write a novel in a month. The only time I ever came close to writing a novel in a month, it was based off a screenplay (and it wasn’t for NaNo, either.) But I do like the word tracking tools, and the write-ins with locals at coffee shops, and the camaraderie and the fun and games.
I suppose these pro haters dislike the way NaNo has morphed from the “fun and games” of a couple of amateurs to being this albatross of a creature that bombards inboxes (and now, I suppose, Kindles) every December 1st. Maybe they feel it cheapens their “art.” But at the same time, I’m not sure why it should matter to them what someone else does. NaNo is not making a bunch of amateur writers any promises. They aren’t like some other amateur writing programs I can mention, like those sponsored by publishing houses, that hold out elusive contracts if you only get enough “likes” from your fellow players to be allowed to submit. Save your contempt for that. NaNo is a game, and if it’s not for you, then don’t play.
I’m off to write my 1,667 words of the day. I doubt it’ll last long, especially since I’m going to YA’LL fest next week, but it’ll be fun while it lasts.