Just say No to NaNoWriMo

Divorce party by Randy Adams

Divorce party by Randy Adams

In the United States today is Thanksgiving, and I have much to be thankful for. Along with family, friends, and tasty food, the holiday season always brings lots of new gadgets and time to catch up on my reading. Thanksgiving also reminds me to be thankful that the most abused of writing traditions, NaNoWriMo, is almost at an end.

Why? Because what was once a fun way to get people used to writing has become a used and abused crutch. It’s become a self-help program that wanna-be writers trumpet about once a year, but rarely use as a serious step on the path to becoming an author.

Now I’m not as anti-NaNoWriMo as my cohort in ePublish Unum. Evo is on the record saying why he hates NaNoWriMo. Unlike Evo, I actually participated in it and “won” NaNoWriMo back in 2007. It was a fun and challenging experience that taught me what it takes to make serious writing part of my daily schedule. That’s all NaNo really is, which isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately many people make it something more.

They do NaNo every year, write like mad, tell all their friends about it, then move onto other things until next November. I know people with multiple unedited, unread drafts of NaNo works on their computers somewhere. They keep telling themselves they will be successful books someday… someday…

Or they take their rough draft, run Spell Check on it, and release it as an ebook. The result of NaNo isn’t really a “Novel” like it says in the name. It’s a first draft. A first draft is a hard thing to make, but it isn’t ready for prime time. Sadly, every December a wave of unpolished NaNo refuse hits digital storefronts across the interwebs.

The difference between a Writer and an Author

A writer grabs bits of time to type or scrawl their thoughts for their own expression or growth. Nobody will ever see it, nobody is intended to, and that’s fine. It’s a personal thing.

Authors know a first draft is just a first step, and there is a lot more work to come in the form of editing, polishing, reworking, design, pricing, and promotion. It’s more than a 31-day challenge, and the NaNoWriMo success stories out there are all from authors who know this.

NaNoWriMo No Mo’!

We posted more about our thoughts about why NaNoWriMo sucks over at NaNoWriMoNoMo – a mini-site that will hopefully kick some people in the pants and get them off the NaNo merry-go-round and looking at what comes next to really publish a book.

And if that happens, we’ll be here waiting to help!