In Defense of NaNoWriMo

Before I turn into Lancelot and joust to defend my beloved's honor, let me explain who the love of my (writing) life is: NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month).  NaNoWrimo happens during the month of November, and everyone who participates writes a 50,000 word novel (at least). 

What is so controversial about that? A lot. Nothing seems to bring out the Statler and Waldorf in people in the writing community faster than mentioning NaNoWriMo. What do the haters have to say? 

  • 50,000 words is not a "real novel." It is too short. 
  • You cannot write anything good in a month. 
  • People who do NaNoWriMo are not "real writers." 

What do I say in response? Nothing. I just whip my hair back and forth.

I am kidding. 

I think the objection that makes me most resemble Grumpy Cat is the whole idea of "real" vs "not real writers." Are you writing? Then you are a writer. I don't think it requires Les Miserables style angst to be a writer. It is okay to have fun and not stress about it, especially during a rough draft.

Which leads me to the other objection about horrible drafts being produced during NaNoWriMo. First of all, all first drafts are really terrible. I think NaNoWriMo is great for forcing people to get over perfectionism and just write the draft. Yes, it will require a lot of rewriting (probably more than a book written over a longer period of time). But, as the cliche goes, you cannot edit an empty page. NaNoWriMo effectively solves this problem. 

Also, I think there are a way to make the draft require less revision. I think if you plan ahead (i.e. make an outline, work on developing your characters, etc.), you can have a better novel. 

Besides, do you want to know what books were written during NaNoWriMo? The Night Circus, Fangirl, and Wool. So, yeah, it is possible to write good (and popular) books in a month. I will caveat that there were probably multiple drafts for these books. 

As for 50,000 word draft is not long enough to be a novel? A little book called The Great Gatsby is roughly 47,000 words long. 

Participating in NaNoWriMo? Need help with planning and prepping? Rocky and I are hosting a FREE five-day challenge to get you ready. Click here to sign-up.