Looking Through The Window at Nanowrimo

Posted: November 4, 2012 in Inkspots, Musings, Scribe Scribbles
Tags: , , , , , , ,





This week there have been plenty of  posts on Nanowrimo (try saying that seven times fast without giggling like crazy); posts about how to make the most of it, posts on updates of those doing Nanowrimo,  posts by those violently opposed to the idea.

For those who don’t know what Nanowrimo is, it is  National Novel Writing Month and the links in the names up there will take you to the official site and official explanation which sums it up nicely.  So if you don’t know what it is, go take a peek and then come back here.

Back? Fantastic!

First, the confession: I’ve tried Nanowrimo once, and failed miserably.  I discovered  painfully, it’s  not something that I can do, and  this year I decided this year to skip it entirely.   The qualifier to this, is that I never publicly posted my stats, nor did I go through the website. I had a friend who was “nano”ing and kept badgering me to join her. She made it sound exciting, targeted, and easy.  So, I jumped in with both feet (or at least, a word processor).  It was probably the most traumatic and least fun I have ever had writing.   I still think it’s a good idea, but it’s definitely tweaked towards one type of writer.

That being said, the idea if Nanowrimo is an interesting one and I’ve noticed some interesting effects of it on the Scribes I know, both pro and con.  Here’s what I’ve observed:

The pace (50,000 words in 30 days) is not for the faint of heart.  Those used to writing at least 500 words a day are the ones that are drawn to this contest. They also tend to be  people who are  gregarious, outgoing, and aggressive.  There’s nothing wrong with that kind of writer, in fact I would not be surprised to find out that they are the ones who make a career of writing.  They aren’t the only  kind of writer however, and I think it’s interesting to note that the contemplative and introverted writers  among my friends are almost all avoiding Nanowrimo.

The reasoning is simple;  introverts tend to not want to share their writing and easily get lost in their own worlds. They don’t really care if any one else knows what’s going on them or not. It’s their world, and they’re not over eager to share.  The amount of interaction on the Nanowrimo boards and the posting of work to prove word count as a general rule, wouldn’t appeal to them.  They are more interested in working alone, than joining a group.

Nanowrimo has decisively divided my writer friends in another way as well.

Those who are participating are actively encouraging one another through social media; posting word counts, bantering with one another, and sharing their passion for story telling. Those who aren’t Nanoing, are no-so-quietly grumbling about those who are.  That surprised me a few days ago. Now, however,  I can see why. My status feeds are clogged with notifications that make me feel very much left out.

There is an ” us versus them”  mentality that has taken over, and while it shocked me how quickly it happened, I can’t be totally surprised by it.

What I’m  working on doing in my own little sphere, is pulling the two fractured mini-groups back into one cohesive ball of brilliance.

While Nanowrimo does a fantastic job at keeping those participating in it fired up and encouraged, it has become an irritant to those who aren’t. More on that later in the week as I share some of the techniques I’ve found that help bring the polarized groups closer to where they were before the beginning of November.

For now let me know if you are  or aren’t  participating in Nanowrimo.

If so, how is it going? If you aren’t, what is your biggest complaint about Nanowrimo?

  1. CCDragonKissedFiendishRattler says:

    Thanks for the post, Michelle! I agree, it’s very sad to see the split. I have personally experienced both sides, and felt very left out in the years that I haven’t done it. I agree, it’s definitely for certain kinds of writers. Not all writers can do it, and not all writers *should* do it. I actually tend to be more introverted as a writer, but I’m really enjoying NaNo this year. I do write a lot, so it’s helping me stay more disciplined with an actual word count goal. It’s also provided that competitive push I needed to get this story going, since I’ve been planning it for years now.
    However, is much as I am enjoying it, I have been trying to encourage all of my fellow writers. Not just those doing NaNo. I always do, but I’m paying special attention this month, because I know how it feels to be left out of the NaNo action.

  2. Amanda says:

    I’m not, sadly. College leaves me no time for anything but itself, and you’re right. There is a sense of loneliness in that I WANT to be writing and I’d love to do NaNo, but I can’t. 😦

  3. Megan-Marie says:

    Somehow I don’t think the origins of this are rooted in Dostoyevsky’s mad effort to deliver a novel of at least 12 signatures to a corrupt publisher by November 1, 1866, and his subsequent two-year procrastination until he had to hire the services of one of Russia’s first stenographers to dictate the work in a mad 30-day session during which he produced the 62,000 (ish) novella “The Gambler,” later marrying the stenographer Anna and much, much later inspiring a loose, very loose, loose version of these events in the Luke Wilson venue Alex & Emma.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not the origin but I’m not going to go look it up ’cause I don’t think it sounds very interesting. I’m not a community person, and I’ve never seen the point of writing challenges. If it’s in my head, I’ll write it. Dr. George often criticized classes that included assignments on “write a poem,” for example, because he said you can’t make yourself write a poem; you feel it coming on like a sneeze, and you write it. Last month for example I finished the final, for real, last ever version of Spark in the Darkness and it came to 113,600 (ish) words. I don’t count it for much ’cause I’ve written that book 4 times now. I did add about 19,500 words to it. But it was in my head, so I wrote it. It’s been almost two weeks since I added anything to book 2 because it hasn’t been in my head. So whatevs.

    A challenge that other people participate in because they think it sounds interesting that I’m not participating in because I don’t think it sounds interesting does not sound like complaint material to me 😉 Nope. Just doesn’t sound interesting is all. I just mostly wanted to talk about Dostoyevsky, ’cause, man, it’s Fyodor!! Fedenka! FEYA!! ^_^

  4. Julie D says:

    While I’d consider myself an introvert, I think you forgot one point–only the WORD COUNT is automatically public if you use the site. I wouldn’t show anyone what I was writing now unless they paid me big bucks. I go more for me-against-myself, but that tracking system makes it much more motivational.

  5. davidrlar says:

    Basically the reason I entered NaNo was because I did indeed feel rather left out, seeing as most of the writer-types that I know on Facebook were all fired up about doing it. I know that I’m not going to reach 50K, but I did think NaNo would be a good impetus to increase my word output, which has been pathetic lately. I also tend to be more of an introverted writer and I don’t intend on sharing my NaNo words.

  6. Kathy Black says:

    The whole world is set up to divide rather than unite. Sad, because there are different paces for each person. The Turtle won the race…remember? To all those out there that are quiet, gentle people with non-competition personalities–its okay to be different. Just keep writing.

Be brilliant, be peculiar, be peculiarly brilliant.

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