I started writing a completely different blog post this morning, all about how this blog was getting too cosy and I was worried that I wasn't taking enough risks. And it was such a thoughtful, carefully argued piece that when I read it back, I realised that it proved my point entirely.
So I'm going to talk about something else. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And how I hate it. It isn't even November yet and I'm already bored by it.
Bored. Bored. Bored.
Nathan Bransford, normally the most engaging of bloggers, has been posting about it all week. Yawn.
All around the web, people are preparing their chapter plans and vibrating with excitement at the thought of writing 1666.6 words of mostly garbage every single day. Snore.
I'm dreading a whole month of status updates as people struggle to fill their quota and fret over the fact that they're not living up to a ridiculously arbitrary deadline. Here is some news just in - novels do not have to be written in November. They can be written all year round!
The worst thing is, I know writers who are good, the kind of people who will take their NaNoWriMo novel and actually edit it into something halfway decent. What must it be like being surrounded by Delusional Wannabes (© Nicola Morgan) who are just going to package up the whole steaming mess and send it off to the nearest agent with an equally delusional covering letter?
NaNoWriMo plays up to the worst kind of writer stereotypes, the "oh, I'm writing a novel" smugness that gives unpublished authors a bad name. It is a triumph of the quantitative over the qualitative. On many days - yesterday for instance - I'm happy to write 400 good words of a novel. Not just any words, but good words that I won't have to revise endlessly for the next six months. Strong dialogue that's funny and sounds natural. Clever ideas and twists that propel the story in fascinating directions. A wholesale rejection of the cliché.
As such an aggressive first-drafter, I suppose you could argue that NaNoWriMo was never going to be my bag. Maybe I'm actually scared of it, frightened of the discipline and commitment, frightened of the fact that I might discover some deep insights about myself. Or maybe I'm just worried that I'll ratchet my already high stress levels into heart attack territory as I waste a whole month and produce a ton of poorly written crap.
NaNoWriMo. Just look at it. Even the acronym doesn't make much sense.