Saturday, November 20, 2010
Authors Speak Out on NaNoWriMo
I think NaNoWriMo is fabulous-- anything that encourages people to sit down and express themselves creatively is a good thing! Of course, in my experience, it takes waaay longer than a month to write a book, but I think that sometimes we writers just need that initial kick to get us going. So, if declaring November as a special month does it, I say why not?!
I honestly wish more attention was paid to reading than writing; the truth is there are more books than there are readers these days. While anything that encourages honing our written communication skills is to be commended, I think that every writer participating in NaNoWriMo should be required, the month before, to buy several books and read every day. We need a NaNoReMo more.
I think Nanowrimo is a terrific idea. Unfortunately, I've never been able to participate because November is such a busy month. I would love to see it moved to January, when the weather is usually cold enough (even in north Florida) that you want to stay inside and the holidays are over. Plus it would make a terrific New Years resolution!
I've never formally participated, although you could say that the last several years of my obscenely productive life have played out like one long Nano. A while back, as many know, there was a great furor when Salon's Laura Miller posted a negative and discouraging piece about Nano. I thought her piece was sour and wrongheaded, wholly missing the point of the exercise - to finally get a first draft written and to do so within an encouraging environment - but I chalked it up to dispepsia over the election results of the night before and didn't think that anything she wrote warranted death threats.
I love NaNoWriMo because it gets people writing, talking about novels, and commiserating, all things I enjoy in abundance. But I'm afraid I would fail miserably if I tried to write a novel in one month. I might be able to accumulate the pages if I hired a cook to feed my family and an off-duty policeman to supervise homework. But creative ideas come to me at their own pace (think: molasses in January). And since it took five years to write my first novel and will probably take two years to finish my second, I think I'll sit this one out. Instead, I'm getting fired up about: ReWoProMo (Resume Work-in-Progress Month).
I'm one of those slow, plodding, anal writers, so people who do nano impress and astound me. And I think of the sense of community is pretty fabulous. Writing can be so isolating that any push toward making it communal is a good thing indeed.
I think any event that inspires people to write is a great thing, and the NaNo community can be very supportive, from what I hear. I'm such a slow writer myself, though, that I've never participated. I have to revise quite a bit, even when I'm really taking my time with the first draft... I'm afraid to imagine how much revision a super-fast draft of mine would require, but I know it would be a lot!
My own first novel began as a failed NaNoWriMo challenge, so I definitely approve. However, I do wish it were a two-month challenge. I think that's much more reasonable and the success rate would be higher if the challenge was to start your novel on November 1st and finish your rough draft by January 1st of the next year.
Ernessa T. Carter
Every month is NaNoWriMo when I’m writing a novel because if I’m laying down a first draft my goal is 2,000 words a day. For me it’s easy to meet goal if I’ve extensively outlined beforehand. I get a thrill out of watching the word count mount, knowing I can accumulate 80,000 words in only 40 days and keeping the momentum up. I love when I finally have that many words because my favorite part of writing is polishing the prose.
What's your thoughts on NanNowriMo? Do you particpate? What's your word count? Comment and win a copy of Mentor by Tom Grimes, a memoir by a writer who was mentored by Frank Conroy, the director of the prestigious The Iowa Writers Worskhop,
An entertaining excerpt about author promotion from Betsy Lerner’s wonderful book “The Forest fof the Trees: An Editor’s Advice for Writers.
A new feature at the GBC AUTHOR SUNDAY. Look for an interview with Jilian Cantor, author of The Transformation of Things.