In 2007 I did it for the first time, but had to abandon 2008 after 6 days because of a family emergency (see previous post). And so here I am again, just about keeping up the daily wordage and thoroughly enjoying it in a scary roller-coastery sort of way.
Here’s why I do it:
1. It’s fun, especially if you have the competitive urge.
2. It’s serious.
3. For those of us who can procrastinate to Olympic standards it has a foolproof built-in secret weapon: a DEADLINE (not so secret, then, but it really does work).
4. To make the word count and deadline, you have to write with the brakes off, disabling your Inner Editor and your Inner Critic, that pair of dispiriting demons. No plot is too preposterous, no character too cringeworthy, no scene too silly. This your chance to try ’em all.
5. It’s fun. Really.
However, I’m sure most proper novelists will think NaNoWriMo an absurd and futile waste of time, perhaps even belittling to their careful craft. But I, and probably thousands of fellow NaNo nutcases, look upon it (and this is the 6th and most important reason for doing it) as a no-holds-barred, all brake-cables-cut, 30-day brainstorming session at the end of which we’ll be rewarded with our own tottering pile of literary poo - and a lot of it will certainly be umitigated poo, having been written at such an unfeasible pace. But from all that dross, a few rough-diamond-like characters and exciting plot-bunnies will be twinkling irresistibly out at us. These we can spend the coming months carefully extracting and polishing to shining perfection. In theory.
The NaNoWriMo website is full of encouragement and jokes, whilst the NaNoWriMo handbook, No Plot, No Problem! (UK, USA), written by that inestimable genius Chris Baty, founder of all this inspiring nonsense, is crammed with brilliant motivational tips which you don't have to be NaNo-ing to use.
Last year I put up a wordcount widget here – and look what happened. But as I don’t believe there’s a
Right, so. I’m off on another trip to NaNoLand. I'm excited because I'm on the verge of inserting my first plot ninja (cunning devices to further the plot and up the wordcount): This one's called The Travelling Shovel of Death.
You see, NaNowriMo doesn't take itself too seriously. Just seriously enough.
*dreich is Scottish for "dull, damp and miserable." I got the this expressive word from my mother-in-law.