As October unfurls her leaf-changing glory, it is once again the season for #nanoprep and I am once again reminded that the event hosted by the Office of Letters & Light has a polarizing effect.
Serious writers and authors who produce regularly and have their process worked out may or may not support NaNoWriMo. Purist lovers of craft usually don’t. But for those who participate (and I encourage anyone to do so), November offers something unique. It offers camaraderie, focus, and opportunity.
NaNoWriMo isn’t about craft short cuts or encouraging dreck. It’s about getting it done, producing that first draft and making what can be an intimidating process a little more fun. First time writers arguably benefit the most, but those of us with a few novels under our belts also reap the rewards of NaNo’s philosophy, deadline, writing buddies, and word count goals. November is a chance to bust out of any habits or rituals we’ve formed that inhibit us. That we do it as part of an international event is icing on the literary cake.
If you don’t think NaNo participants get published traditionally, think again, and go here. This event, supported by donations, also helps to support writing programs for children, and that’s reason enough in my book.
I know how to put a novel together. I know how to glue my arse to the chair and produce the words. Even so, I look forward to November and the “excuse” it brings to practice the pantsing goodness that is my process and reconnect with past writing buddies. I use it to remind my family that my writing never comes last. I use it to work on specific parts of writing (this year, the focus is on visual description and scene transitions). I use it to share knowledge and encouragement with first timers.
For 2013, I have added my daughter to my list of writing buddies. Last year I added one critique partner (she’s participating again) and we’re working on my other critique partner to sign up, using all the tools and focus to complete her master’s thesis.
What detractors miss, most of all, is that NaNoWriMo is fun. Accomplishment, meeting goals, producing a first draft, yes to all of that, but mostly it’s fun. Still not convinced? Here’s another opinion.
If you’ve never participated, think about it this year. If you are a naysayer, talk to NaNo participants and see if your stances softens. If you are a supporter or participant, I’ll see you in the forums. My author profile is under BJKeltz.