Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Point of NaNo

During pre-NaNo, I heard a lot of people criticizing the ever-popular writing program. Their point was always something along the lines that NaNoWriMo focused too much on producing high word count which resulted in bad writing.

Awesome and inspiring quote.
But that’s the thing. The idea of NaNo isn’t how pretty the prose of your novel is on December 1st when you sit down to reread it for the first time. That’s not the point.

Well then. What is the point? 

No one, not even the greats, is going to turn out a best seller in thirty days. No one can produce a great first draft that requires no revisions.

I read an article on that discusses this very thing about NaNo. Larry Brooks says that the point of NaNo is all too often missed. He says that the masses often overlook what is really important about the challenge. And it isn’t about reaching ‘The End.’

It’s about beginning.

NaNoWriMo is about the beginning of your writing journey. It’s incentive to begin that novel you’ve only been thinking about writing until now. It’s about getting that jumbled mess of an idea out of your head and putting it on paper where you can actually work with it.

And no one said it was going to be easy.

This is the half-way point of this crazy writing challenge. Right now, I’m at a point where the idea pool is running a little shallow. I would really rather back away from the whole thing and forget about writing for a while. I’m feeling the burn, I’m feeling the pain of writing a book in a month.

Think about this; a diamond forms under tons and tons of relentless pressure.

There’s a reason the great writers of old locked themselves away while they were working on their masterpieces. They were holding a lump of coal and intestinally adding pressure, being relentless with their ideas until that lump of coal, that idea, turned into a diamond.

So as I was struggling with what to write for this week’s post, I was wondering, is it really worth it? Is NaNo really for my benefit?

Since I was a kid, I’ve always had a passion for writing. But, what is passion when you don’t do anything about it? Can you truly say that you love something if your heart isn’t in it? What will you offer to others as proof of your passion?

So, for me at least, the point of this NaNoWriMo is about proving my passion. It’s about beginning a journey and letting everyone see for themselves that this is my passion. 


  1. The point of Nano is not only to start, but to work without editing and revising. They are trying to teach you to train yourself {as a writer} to get the rough draft/first draft done, and let the characters lead the plot twists, then revise.

    As a writer, I always find myself stopping midway and revising. Then you get bummed because it seems like nothing works right and lose interest in finishing. Nano tries to teach writers to avoid that pit fall.

    You can still write tight {if you've trained yourself to} and make the word count, if A you write every day, and B: You set reasonable daily goals and keep to them.

    P.S. This is KttyB78 from Nano. :)

    1. Exactly! Like I say, you've got to get the ideas out of your brain and onto the page where you can actually work with them, through rewrights and edits. But you can't do anything if you keep going back to the beginning and starting over all the time.

      Very well said, and thanks for reading!!

  2. I have looked to these challenge as a way to help me establish some some habits. Habit of writing most days, habit of completing first draft completely before trying to edit and habit of acting like a real writer. The real test is what happens after after November. Great post Amanda.

    1. I'd say the NaNo-like programs must be working pretty well for you and developing those habits because you're pretty proficient in writing! Excited to see where you're going. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Well said. I doubted WriMos until I tried JuNoWriMo, and luckily that was a great group to get me started. I admit, I didn't really understand it until I actually got into it. It took me 6 months to draft my first novel--anytime I took a week off, it took me that long to find my place and get rolling again. I like having that push behind me, and even though I've been behind all month (thank you, kidney stone) I think I've churned out some great material to work with.

    1. I too got my start with these 30-day writing challenges with this year's JuNoWriMo. Those folks made it such a wonderful experience I just couldn't help but look forward to the big leagues in November!

      I hope you're doing better with your health and can't wait to hear how NaNo goes for you this year! Write on!!

  4. Yes. Nano is just a beginning. You go, girl.

  5. I've got a slightly cynical view of NaNoWriMo, which I can reveal now that I've won for the fourth year. NaNoWriMo serves two purposes. On the one hand it can let someone know that it really is possible to write a book.

    After an arduous month's worth of effort it's quite the feeling to look at that 50k word count and appreciate that it was all down to your own hard work, perseverance and perspiration. Also, typing.

    On the other hand, it also releases hundreds of thousands of people every year from the fantasy that they have a book in them, setting them free to find other hobbies.

    Hmm. Win-win really.

    1. "On the other hand, it also releases hundreds of thousands of people every year from the fantasy that they have a book in them, setting them free to find other hobbies."

      Win-win indeed! Thanks for stopping by!

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