So, it’s almost November, which means it is *almost* NaNoWriMo time…which also means it’s that time of year where the snarkier side of the internet decides that they HAVE to take a shit on it, if only because they can. Normally this takes the form of established authors saying “well…every month is NaNoWriMo to me!” as though their career sprung fully formed, Venus-like, into the world the minute they sat down and started typing, a never-ending loop of Stephen J. Cannell production outros. I said pretty much the same thing last year and was rewarded within a week by a well-known genre author doing JUST THAT.
This year, New Statesman have upped the ante by publishing an entire article about how sucky and annoying NaNoWriMo is. It’s as hilarious as it is awful, as the author even starts by noting that they have muted and blocked all mention of it on social media. “This has no effect on my life,” is the essential statement. “I never see it or interact with it. I HATE IT.” It’s the internet equivalent of leaning out of your car and yelling “FUCK YOU! FUCK YOUR STUPID LIFE! You’re nothing but street grease, you hear me?! STREET GREASE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS!” at pedestrians because you don’t like the idea that they could be having fun or making friends while you are thinking of your next clickbait pitch (or whatever).
My absolute favourite part is where the author imagines the following: “People will go into Settings and then Profile and delete “aspiring writer” from their bio and put instead: WORDSMITH. WORD DOCTOR. WORD ALCHEMIST. DREAMWEAVER.”
Yes, because no proper writer would ever say anything pretentious. Ever.
I’m not going to type out a big defence of NaNoWriMo, because I don’t really need to. Hell, a sizeable portion of the fun of it is rubbernecking the forums to find quotes and ideas that cause you to bleed spontaneously from your eyeballs.
Instead, I call bullshit on the entire premise. We filter what we see online. We choose what we look at. If people enjoy it and it doesn’t hurt anyone (save for the email inboxes of a few unlucky agents and editors come December/January, sorry guys) then what is the point of taking a pop at it? Is anyone informed or educated by this, or is it simply a case of throwing punches at a soft target* in the hope of driving a midweek traffic spike.
And if the latter is the case, which it most likely is, isn’t that whole-year churn of empty, useless, faux-angry words a shitload worse than what comes out of NaNoWriMo?
*Considering almost every other media outlet is taking the seething MRA underbelly of the internet on en masse, noising up a diverse group of people for having the temerity to try and be creative is a bit pathetic.