Stop Talking About NaNo

…and get writing already!

There are Tina Fey GIFs everywhere in this because Tina Fey is my lady-hero and that’s just something we all have to live with.

Okay, so I know NaNo isn’t for me, but I don’t think it’s wrong for others.

At least, I didn’t think it was wrong for others. Like, hey, if motivation is something you struggle with a lot—and for me, it’s all about the extrinsic rewards, the firm conviction that I can produce publishable work—then why not jump on the community support and get yourself revved up that way?


I keep seeing stuff about “surviving” NaNo. Some of this stuff borders on the hyperbole for, excuse me, real problems like breast cancer.

(Disclaimer: I’ve collaborated on a couple of NaNo novels. Two, I think. I’ve also written a couple of 70K+ things in less than a month, although I didn’t log them through the NaNo thing because at least one of them was before NaNo. Also, I think I had a hipster phase and was all like ‘ugh, the Internet is so mainstream’ or something.)

You probably have some right now. c:

So I’m not grumping about this because I think it’s some kind of crime to rush-finish a book. But. You know what? In this day and age, everyone and their mom has written a book. And if it wasn’t written in the crazy turmoil of one month, it’s probably cleaner than the intentionally sloppy 50K+ being put out right now.

The whole point of NaNo is to do something good for yourself. Struggling with writing a novel because you keep letting other projects interfere or whatever? Get on that. Nervous about your first big project? Oh hey, super-extra-positive forums. Cool, cool.

Until you start thinking that doing NaNo is somehow special and/or great for other people.


It’s about you working through a big project that you might never get any credit for, not even some BS grade you need to get out of that core requirement.

Because the real work is after. Find an agent, find a publisher, get ready to sell your book, get ready to be presentable and public and all the things that today’s authors are expected to do. And, hey, before you even get to that stuff, do you know how hard it is to write a self-aggrandizing summary about your work (I like editing, so the four rounds of that are like a party, but you may want to count those too)? Oh, and produce a marketable synopsis that’s, like, less than 250 words?

Writing a book is a good thing to do. But writing yet another crappy first draft (it’s a first draft, it had better be crappy) is not doing the world any favors.

So can we get back to what NaNo is supposed to be about, and focus on finishing an actual book?

You know what comes next, right? (Click for the rest of the photoset.)


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