Since the beginning of November alone I’ve written more than 40,000 new words on my current novel project, Plummet, as well as re-outlined another major novel project, Throwing Rocks at God. Both, I believe, are immensely marketable in their respective genres (fantasy and mainstream).
When I think of how productive and creative I’ve been, I silently thank my Muse for being present and so generous.
On a related note, people ask why I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, and why I tend not to discuss my opinion of it publicly. But I’m ready to reveal my reasons now…
Having written drafts of more than 27 novels, I feel that I have firsthand knowledge of what it takes to write a story, make it interesting, and use all the tools in my writerly toolbox to make it engaging, interesting and readable. I feel that NaNoWriMo might give the uninitiated the false impression that it’s “easy” to pound out 50,000 words and call themselves writers. I like that it gives more people the initiative to do what it takes to make it that far, as so many aspiring and serious writers have difficulty doing even that. To be able to sustain that over a lifelong career is a much different matter.
My friends sometimes argue that NaNoWriMo gives people the courage to write where they might’ve been resistant before. If it works in that way, I say “Great!” Thus far, I don’t see that effect. How many novels begun during the craziness that is NaNoWriMo actually see publication? What happens to all those millions of novel beginnings? Not one of the people I know who’ve participated have ever followed through on that project.
Zip, zero, Robert DeNiro, to quote a friend.
I have an interview request out to Chris Baty, creator of NaNoWriMo. I have not yet heard back from him or “his people,” but you can be sure that I will ask some of the questions that arise for me when – and if – he accepts the request.
If you’re serious about writing, don’t use a gimmick to learn your craft.