Notes from the Trenches – Nano Why Mo?!

Posted: November 3, 2010 in graffiti living
Tags: , ,

Yesterday, I joked that if I wrote what was on my mind I’d probably get sectioned. Today, I’m going to do just that, and prove myself wrong. A very kind person very kindly left a lovely comment on my blog as they’re a fellow nanoblopomo and nanowrimo participant, but they’re something of a veteran whereas this is my first time doing both in tandem. They remarked on their own blog that they survived nanoblopomo by typing for 15 minutes and then clicking ‘post’. So, that’s what I’m going to do here. Run for the hills; unless you actually WANT to read me being snotty and snarky, off the cuff and off the top of my head. In which case, pull up a chair.

I try not to whinge too much on this blog, but if you ever see a post prefaced with the title ‘Notes from the Trenches’, when I’m a writer, not a soldier, and the only war being fought is against my own inertia; then that’s your clue that it’s just a little rant about writing and not necessarily fit for human consumption. You have been warned.

I’m three days into nanowrimo and already sick to the back teeth of the outpouring of anti-nanowrimo sentiment from published and established so-called professional writers. How precious. You’re entitled to your opinion, but please, shut the fuck up. You don’t have to participate, you don’t have to approve, nobody is making you write a novel in a month, but why do you feel the need to piss on the parade of those who do? It’s free to participate, it raises money for charity, and it encourages people to write and have fun. How can encouraging people to write be a bad thing? Sure, they cry, but you’re making them think that writing is EASY and getting them to write BADLY. Well, so what? The biggest obstacle to writing well isn’t a lack of talent, it’s a fear of ‘writing badly’ so crippling that you don’t write at all.

The fear of failure and crippling self doubts that for many seem to go hand in hand with any creative act are something that I wrestle with every day. I aspire to be a published writer, but in the words of Kirsty MacColl, “you just haven’t earned it yet, baby”. I haven’t written long enough or hard enough, but at least I’m bloody trying.

I applaud anyone daft enough to try and write a novel in a month, whatever their reasons for doing so. It’s a baptism of fire, and you learn a hell of a lot about the craft and about yourself as a writer in the process. It’s also a lot of fun. I’ve encouraged many writing friends and former creative writing students to participate in nanowrimo over the years, and seen many of them blossom as writers as a result. Not because what they wrote in that month was brilliant, but because it renewed their courage and enthusiasm for the hard graft of writing every day even when it isn’t fun and your friends aren’t there to cheer you on from the sidelines. Nanowrimo doesn’t cheapen or degrade the noble profession of being a writer at all. If anything, it makes people realise just how bloody hard it is to actually sit down and write a publishable novel. And at the same time, how writers aren’t mythical beings who get to sit on a silver cloud imparting wisdom to the masses from on high. As much as they might like to believe otherwise!

  1. clvr_witch says:

    I don’t get a silver cloud? Oh poo! I suppose next you’ll tell me I don’t get a pony either. *pouts at you*

    Seriously, though, I signed up for NaNoWriMo once, before. Of course I had a husband, then, who was not at all encouraging in the pursuit of anything I wanted to try. Meh. As an excuse, it works. Lets me live with the fact that I did not write one single word, that month. Now, however, I find myself wishing it was November, so that I could just try.

    Hell no, writing’s not easy. Of course, my father would tell you that few worthwhile things are. As for your snarkiness, rare whines, and occasional rants, they are some of your more unique and wonderful qualities.

  2. Kim U says:

    Sheer brilliance. I am (okay, was) a professional writer and let me tell you, I encourage anyone and everyone interested in writing. If professional writers choose to be snobs and downplay an event that is for a good cause then they cram a notebook up their bums for all I care.

    Writing a novel in a month no matter how much it sucks is a CHALLENGE. Coming up with enough read worthy blog posts every day for 30 days is a CHALLENGE. That is the entire point of both NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo. If you can successfully complete one, that’s awesome. If you can successfully complete both, that is bad ass.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Love your snarky, straight to the point writing style and sense of humor. Looking forward to reading more.

    • There is a danger in listening to others and most definitely in comparing yourself to others. When it comes to the party poopers, quite frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I don’t have time to give other people’s opinions too much thought. There is too much work to be done. While I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo, I do participate in AEDM which is Art Every Day Month. I see other participants cranking out tacky crap but I certainly don’t spoil it for them. If a person is enjoying what they are doing, I think they should go for it. These challenges are intended to get people out of the “talking” mode and into “doing.”

      I’m a member of a local chapter for woman artists. So many of them went to “art school” and are such snobs about their work compared to others. I was having dinner with one of them and I told her how I felt, I really don’t care if anyone in the group gets my work. I’m still working.

      My advice is to look the other way and to dive into the doing.

      Have fun.

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