Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

Dear NanoWriMo: Thanks But No Thanks

If you’re an aspiring author or in any way involved in the literary community, you’ll know it’s National Novel Writing month. Every year, during the month of November, writers all buckle down in hopes of completing a 50,000-word manuscript in four weeks. Of course, this is no easy task but most things worth having, aren’t easy, right?

Years ago, I participated in NanoWriMo, though I was much younger and didn’t take it as seriously. More recently, I participated in the Chance Challenge which had writers set a goal of 50, 000-words in one month. Despite, me having participated in these challenges years apart, one thing remained true: Writing challenges are just not for me.

I almost hate myself for saying it. NanoWriMo does so many good things for the literary and writing community. Not only does it give a spotlight on new and rising authors, it also gives some writers that kick in the butt they need to finally put pen to paper. Well, more likely finger to keyboard, still the sentiment is the same.

There’s also the amazing comradery it creates! Writers are always stereotyped as being lone introverts who spend hours typing away and tucked in a small shabby room. Yet, not only have so many authors proven this untrue (some of us are extroverts, believe it or not) but social media has opened the door for writers to communicate all over the world. And, now, every November, aspiring authors across the globe cheer one another on as they pound away in the hopes of turning their manuscript into a reality.

Basically, it’s amazing and I wish I could feel that comradery every November and not miss out but the truth is I suck at writing challenges. Not necessarily because I don’t complete them.

But because my writing turns to complete crap and, I mean, crap! Like, it gets so bad, I wouldn’t dare put it in front of an editor. Of course, rough drafts are going to be messy. That’s what they’re there for and I am one of those authors who swear by the sloppy rough draft. Yet, there’s a difference between submitting something that’s workable vs. submitting a manuscript that’s far below my bare minimum of standards.

You see, what happens to me during writing challenges is I get so wrapped up in the challenge, I neglect the quality of writing. I’m sure I’m not the only author who has this issue. When participating in a writing contest like NanoWriMo or the Chance Challenge, I want to finish so badly I just write without any thought of consistency, character development, plot or the like. I simply write to win, not for the story.

The result?

I don’t get a messy rough draft. I get a bunch of nonsense. My writing quality decreases from the infamous first draft to a quality of writing that I’m not able to properly name.

In short, I won’t be participating in NanoWriMo this year or any year in the foreseeable future.

via GIPHY

What I’ll do instead is cheer participants on and send as many digital hugs as anyone needs. I’ll set daily writing goals for myself that are realistic and work for me (usually 2000 words a day). And I’ll complete these goals because I’ve done it before and I know I’m capable.

So, thanks, NanoWriMo, but no thanks.

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