There are many who say that NaNoWriMo is bad for the writing community. To be fair, much of their concern is legitimate.
1. Too many books already exist. Novels today are a dime a BILLION. Most new novels are crap. Frankly, few popular nonfiction books are very well written or thought out. NaNoWriMo encourages more crap.
2. Writing 50k in 30 days does not mean you can submit your fast-paced story to agents on December 1st. The only thing past-paced about a book written in 30 days is the timeline in which you wrote it. The fact that many do this only shows people really are that stupid. If you think for one moment you can sit down and slap out a page turning novel in 30 days, you are drunker than Hemingway…speaking of which, he EDITED sober.
3. Yay, now there are 300,000 new wankers that think they can write the next classic literature taught in classrooms around the globe.
These are all great concerns. Why? Because they are true. It sucks, but there it is. Almost everyone says they can write and have a great idea for a story. NaNoWriMo does two things (none of which are related to publishing a book).
1. Feet are put to the fire. Most people who say they are writers but don’t have time, or they say they want to write but never get around to it, are asked to put their proverbial money where their mouth is. If they fail halfway through and realize, hey this writing thing isn’t so easy after all, then we’ve weeded out one wanker who walks around claiming to one day be the next Salinger.
2. Those who do finish NaNoWriMo and decide to edit their work of crap do so with about 100 hours of experience under their belts. As Gladwell points out, there appears to be a magic number of hours of practice that has to happen before you’re awesome at anything. Ten thousand hours. And, congratulations to those who finish NaNoWriMo having never written before, you’re 1% there! Get over yourself.
Naysayers are generally people who hate reading crap. They think that by encouraging the world to write a novel, the publishing industry will bend over backward to sell all these new gems. Let me be first to admit, this is not the case. I’m still editing last year’s NaNoWriMo novel, and nobody is breaking down my door to beg for printing rights.
The only people I feel bad for are Literary Agents the world over. Out of 300,000 people participating in NaNoWriMo, there have to be at least 3,000 or 1% that will inevitably submit their WriMo garbage before the end of December.
So remember, NaNoWriMo is a step up to the plate or get your ass out of the kitchen sort of promise to yourself. It’s a first step. Not editing your story is akin to opening the can of paint and announcing to the world, “Look at me! I’m a painter! I’ve got paint!” You can’t go to the gym for a month and then tryout for College Football. Actually, the resultant beating you would receive would be a great wake up call…so do it!