With over a quarter of a million writers participating in this November’s National Novel Writing Month, those of us who are critics of the annual ‘competition’ are certainly in the minority, and come off a bit like curmudgeonly literary Don Quixotes.
Still, someone needs to give the popular windmills what-for.
As I said in Part 1, the creative process of any artist is as individual as a fingerprint, and to a certain degree, not really open much to debate. If it works for you, no matter how odd or unfeasible it may seem to anyone else, then it works.
However, in the case of NaNoWriMo, the creative process itself is at the very center of the annual event.
While a percentage of established and productive writers participate in the event for the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days, an even larger group hop on the bandwagon hoping to jumpstart what they feel is their own stalled process and have access to a specially formed support network to help keep them on the ‘right path’.
This is the more inexperienced group that I’m concerned about. If you find racing the clock, counting words, and patting yourself on the back for the number of words you write on a daily basis for a month (or freaking out when you fall behind) enjoyable and a good incentive or means for you to create a work, then that’s fine.
Count your words, tally them up, tweet your progress, and carry on.
But for the less experienced group may not have yet spent enough time trying to develop that creative ‘fingerprint’, the sense of failure, feeling inadequate when comparing themselves directly to others, and added frustration of a ticking clock may have a much greater impact on their more fragile egos, doing some serious damage that can take months or years to undo, if it’s undone at all.
There’s a terrible irony that something that’s meant to inspire people to write does the exact opposite for some, and the aspiring writers most likely to throw in the towel don’t have the wisdom from experience to know that this process may not be beneficial for them.
They just see it as another failure on their part, and it’s compounded by seeing others succeed where they didn’t.