Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo Pressure

It's everywhere, on every blog, all over Facebook, on Twitter, in your inbox. Excited updates from fellow writers getting down and dirty in the trenches with their NaNoWriMo projects. Some are at the halfway mark, some have already exceeded it. Some burst out of the gate with nearly 10,000 words their first day. Truth it, it makes me feel slightly queasy and break a sweat.

No month makes me feel more pressured that I have to keep up, that I must write, that I'm slacking in some way if I'm not keeping up than November. The truth is, I'm not wholly sure how I feel about NaNoWriMo. I think it's a fantastic idea to force writers to get their butts in chairs and start writing, and give them an excuse to write daily. They are given license to write utter crap and not stress it - it's about quantity and not quality, after all. Best of all, you can connect with other writers as a support system to keep egging each other on. However, for me, it adds an element to my writing that doesn't sit well with me and makes it feel less organic all around.

I know myself better than anyone, and one of the biggest pieces of advice I ever received that gave me comfort was when I read on someone's blog that writing is not a race, nor a competition. The business inherently moves slowly. NaNoWriMo makes me feel like the tortoise surrounded by a pack of hares. I believe in just getting the words out on the page, but I can't just literally stream-of-consciousness utter crap to simply get words on a page. My instinct remains to edit and make sense of it all, and I find it hard to move forward if there isn't something linear and substantial to build off of.

I admire greatly the perseverance and determination of those that can sit daily and pump out the words and in the end feel the sense of accomplishment from having met your goal. I just know it's not for me. So I cheer you from the sidelines, but respectfully step off the track, and embrace every month as NaNoWriMo, hoping I will find myself with my butt in a chair, writing, and remembering that it's not a race.

What are your thoughts?

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