There’s nothing like NaNoWriMo to ruin a perfectly good November. That’s right, I said it. National Novel Writing Month is a sham, a charade, a scam, a big pile of bullshit. And here’s why:
1. Writing a novel in a month doesn’t improve your writing. Feedback and revision are what improve your writing. All NaNoWriMo does is teach you that being substandard will get you an award. A novel in a month? No — 50k words in a month is the assignment. That’s like, half a novel. You’ve written half a book that you’ll most likely never look at again, let’s hire some strippers.
2. There’s no NaNoEdMo. Those people who do finish their — ahem — novels in a month don’t learn shit about the actual business of writing novels. Many of them will try to publish their drivel just as it sits, because, hey, they wrote a novel. NO. Until there’s a National Novel Editing Month, you hire a professional editor or master the skill of being one. There are too many SHIT Indie novels out there as it is. We MUST have some standards.
3. There’s no swag in writing. There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no fucking swag involved in writing. If you buy a bag of personalized pens with your name on them, you’re really somebody in the writing world. Nobody gets a fucking t-shirt for knocking out 200 product descriptions in a couple of days (even though they deserve one). Check out NaNoWriMo’s store if you doubt that it’s anything more than a filthy way of making money, regardless of any original intent.
4. It gives you the wrong idea about #TheWritingLife. I am sick to death of people who romanticize what we do for a living. It was everything I could do not to beat a person over the head with commas earlier today on Facebook when they made a similar comment on another writer’s poetry. Writing is a goddamned skill that takes a lifetime to master. Also, you don’t get to pick what you write — even Stephen Fucking King panders to his audience. Professional writers sell a service, that’s it. We’re word whores and we write whatever the public (or the client) wants to read.
5. I’m just sick of hearing about it. WHY do I need to know you’re attempting to write a novel? Do I care when it’s just a pile of garbage words? Hold your tongue until you’ve got a few books under your belt or at least finish the first one. The chances are good you won’t, so stop wasting my time. If you’re one of those lucky few blessed with a golden asshole, I expect you’ll keep banging at that so called novel regardless of NaNoWriMo status — you’d better, or I’m coming for you.
There are a very few instances where I’ll allow that NaNoWriMo has a little bit of merit. Those of us who write professionally sometimes need a kick in the ass to get our novels finished (mine’s been languishing for at least three years) — it’s just exhausting to think about writing a novel after you’ve spent the whole day writing copy. But when fuckers decide that they’re writers because they put 50k in a Word doc… ugh. Which reminds me, here’s a bonus number six:
6. Writing a 50k draft doesn’t make you a professional writer. OMG, the number of people who ask me for advice breaking into the writing world after NaNoWriMo is exponentially greater than the inquiries I get the rest of the year. Inevitably, someone asks me something infuriating, like how I deal with Writer’s Block — and I have to throw a brick at their heads, repeatedly, until they stop talking. We’re not writing because we’re lazy slobs who can’t get a real job. We’re lazy slobs that have spent our lives perfecting the art of communication, so go fuck yourself until you’re ready to work harder than you have ever even thought possible while flipping burgers at your McJob.