NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Or, as I like to call it, National Get On My Nerves Month (NaGoMyNeMo?). Anyway. I always start off really interested in this, I even signed up for it once. But then, every year, without fail, I mute it on Twitter within the first week.
I have friends who have found this really useful, it has spurred them on to finally write something, or it appeals to their competitive streak, so I’m not saying I hate it, I just hate it for me, it doesn’t work. As soon as I even think about it, all the words run out of my head. I don’t like the whole premise of it, the emphasis on quantity over quality. Why would I do that? Why would I write something that I’m not happy with just to get my word count up? I’d much rather write a few hundred words that give me that buzzy feeling than write 50,000 that are just ok. I can’t force my writing, it just happens when it happens, and never in controlled bursts. I can sit for hours with a blank screen only to have the most amazing idea five minutes before I am due to collect the children from school.
I don’t like the constant updates about word counts, but then I hate those anyway. Sometimes my time line is full of people talking about that day’s word count. ‘2000 words before breakfast today!’ someone will tweet. That means nothing to me. Those words could well include a shopping list for all I know. I can’t help feeling there’s something desperate about it, a kind of ‘look, I am a proper writer with word counts and everything and not only that I have written more than you, so there, loser.’ Same with the #Iamwriting hashtag. No, you’re not writing, you’re tweeting. Also, what do you want? Your name engraved on a silver coated swan? Stop writing about writing and just actually write.
NaNoWriMo also organises meet-ups for writers. This enables participants to meet other NaNo’s in their area. This is madness. Everybody knows that writers are the most anti-social people in the world. They hate other people. Why on earth would they want to go and be in the same room as other people, never mind other writing people?
There have been a few books published on the back of this (about fifteen?) although these would probably have been great books anyway, and there are spin off schemes for schools, which are great. Anything that encourages young people to read and write more is brilliant. It’s probably good for discipline too, after all, part of why I agreed to do this particular challenge, which you could argue is a similar project, is to get into the habit of finding the time to write regularly, fitting it in around children and work and life. But you wont find me tweeting about NaGoMyNeMo this year, or trying to make you feel inadequate with my spectacular word counts. But if anyone wants to give me a silver coated swan for being the best procrastinator, it’s Tracy without an ‘e’.
(No actual swans were harmed in the writing of this blog post).