The Woman in White

the writings and ramblings of a writer and rambler

  • from The Woman in White, Martin Justice

on NaNoWriMo

Posted by Westenra on October 8, 2008

That’s National Novel Writing Month, in case you’ve been living under a rock/ aren’t a writer. Hey, it’s apparently their 10th anniversary. Who knew?

Anyway, the basic premise is that you take one month–November–and write a novel. The goal is 50k words. Forget about editing, forget about how good it is supposed to be, just brain vomit onto the page for 31 days straight. It’s supposed to be a good exercise, a good release of inhibitions, generally all around good for writers.


I’ve never participated. I first heard about it in college, when I walked past dorm doors that had various NaNo signs taped to them. My reaction was basically, “huh?” and then I googled it and went, “huh,” again, but without the question mark. I admit to feeling slightly superior at first–one month for writing a novel? my entire life is novel-writing. Psh.

I am over that now (while I am still superior to the rest of humanity, I am much less superior than I thought I was as a freshman in college). But I still don’t think NaNo is right for me.

Currently, it would just be a logistical nightmare. I’m working on two novels and the stories for tWiW. Add on another 2k words a day and–I just wouldn’t do it. So then I would just fail, and then I would be sad. Sad = bad.

But it’s also not the way I write. I can’t do that “brain vomit don’t think about it” kind of writing. Even the stories for tWiW, written possibly the night before I post them, are going to be gone over a couple of times, words are going to be deleted, paragraphs are going to be moved. It’s the way I write. My word docs are kind of like amorphous blobs. I mean, publishing as I’m writing is going to necessitate a slight change to the system, but basically I can’t help but edit as I write.

“Well that’s the point of NaNo,” I hear you say. “To get rid of that self-editor.”

Yeah, but I like that self-editor. I should probably give him a name. Alvin. Like the chipmunk. Me and Alvin, we get along great. And I just don’t think NaNo would make me happy. And really, that’s what writing is about for me: happiness.

So those are my ramblings on NaNoWriMo.


3 Responses to “on NaNoWriMo”

  1. Mark said

    I can’t wait! I would like to do 2k of words per day, then get finished before my exams, but will that happen? ‘Tis doubtful :)

    Best of luck with yours!

  2. Mark said

    You know what? You’re completely right. Sadly, parents never see it that way. Like I care about GCSEs =P

  3. […] by Westenra on October 9, 2008 Scroll down slightly and you’ll see the post on why I don’t participate in NaNo. “I don’t write like that,” or some such […]

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