Max over at The Millions posts about the NanoBashing that’s been going on this year. I’ve never done it and probably never will (too organized and I just write slower than that; I prefer my goal-setting and deadlines a bit lengthier and easier to blow!). Anyway, I left a comment over there, which I’m  reproducing here and will not speak of it again:

I dunno — it seems to me I’ve read plenty of interviews with writers (and known plenty) who bang out first drafts (occasionally) in a similar time span. As long as the writer is willing to revise, I don’t see the harm. There’s a school of thought out there that says many writers do a quick draft, then a slow one, etc. Often, you don’t know what the story is until you get it down. They’re writing zero drafts, detailed outlines, and maybe a few real novels. I’ve also encountered writers who think the work to death before they start and so turn out quick, impeccable drafts that barely have to be rewritten.

The only way you get better at writing is by doing it. At least some of these people will get a finished book draft* they can work with, throw away, whatever. It seems like the haytas are actually coming from an overly romanticized view of litr-a-chure as being perfectly, painstakingly written, and well, the draft you throw away, the white heat version seems just as much a reality to me. It’s all hard work, no matter the speed, if you want the final draft to matter.

* If you never finish it, who cares how slow and perfect you wrote it?

p.s. See what Callie has to say, as a participant.

p.p.s. See also Justine Musk on time spent, etc., not specific to NaNo, but relevant.

2 thoughts on “NaNoTempest”

  1. I think that some of the NaNoWriMo bashing this year might arise from the fact that even more people are doing it, which means a month of even more bloggers posting nothing but word count obsessions. (I’m on LJ and my friend’s list has nothing but progress bars as far as the eye can see.)
    For what it’s worth, I did NaNo for three years running (this year, I’m just giving myself a more humane 250 words per day limit, with the intent to stick with it all year round). I originally did NaNoWriMo to get past a tendency to edit myself into the ground while writing. I credit NaNo with helping me move past that. (And the first drafts I wrote are, yes indeed, being slowly reworked as time marches on…)

  2. Gwenda – Thanks for the link to my post! I’m honored to be mentioned on your excellent blog.
    While I know everyone is tired of the nanowrimo debate, your comment at least raises the debate to a proper level. I agree with it 100%. Each participant has decided to give it a go for very different reasons, and who are we to judge if their reasons are valid or not? Or even if it matters? If you want to write and you are writing (through whatever arbitrary or not so arbitrary system you’ve set up for yourself), what can be wrong with that? As you so clearly point out, everyone has a different method for how they get the writing done. What is effective for me, may not be effective for you.
    Nanowrimo seems to be a surefire way for writers to learn if the fast and furious method is truly for them or not. In my case: not. Definitely not. I need time to seep and soak. To meditate on who my characters are what they care about – otherwise they fall flat on the page. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in my attempt to learn to write without editing every single sentence in my head before it gets on the page. To Justine’s point, I could definitely benefit from a “bite the bullet, get on with it” approach. That was what nanowrimo was meant to be, at least for me.

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