They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworth’s, man.


So, 25 days into NaNoWriMo. I’m a little behind due to two days off during it, but unless something terrible happens between now and the end of the month, I should sail across the line.

One thing I’ve noticed from Twitter is that a small number of people really hate NaNoWriMo. There have been quite a few tweets RT’d into my timeline, especially at the start of the month, that have all had the same flavour to them. “Hey NaNoWriMo peeps! I do what you’re doing every day of the year!” “Oh, look! It’s NaNoWriMo! When everyone decides they can write a novel and then gives up in the third week!”

These tweets seem to raise a chuckle among the genre set, but I find myself at a loss to see why. They are suggesting that by taking part in NaNoWriMo that I am labouring under the misapprehension that writing a novel is easy. I’m not. They are suggesting that the idea that I can use the time to motivate myself to reach a target by a set date – that I can get my arse in the chair and work to a self-imposed deadline – makes me some sort of an idiot. Again, I’m not.

While everyone is entitled to an opinion, these kind of tweets feel like less than that. They feel like a cheap crack, a shot of self-validation at the expense of someone else’s endeavour.

Hey loser, they say, I am published. You are not. Why not just stop kidding yourself? You will never be greater than I.

Here’s my response: whatever. You’ve just lost a customer.

I started getting involved in the genre scene because I was interested in finding books to read – new voices, exciting voices – and even though I am constantly trying to improve my own writing, the fact that I love reading books will never go away. Ever. That said, I don’t care how good a book is, how flat-out brilliant it is – if the author can’t keep from slapping people down in order to validate themselves, I’m not even going to pick it up off the shelf.

And that’s the long and short of it. I could justify at length why I participate in NaNoWriMo and I reckon I could make a very convincing case for the value of the exercise. However, in this case I don’t need to. When someone drops a condescending tweet about another person’s hobby in order to make themselves feel better, then there’s only one thing to say:

Why bother with a tweet when what you really want is a wank? Your hand is right there.


3 thoughts on “They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworth’s, man.”

  1. I saw a few of those comments too – it’s the same thing every year. “Look at these silly pretenders, trying to *make* something. How pitiful.”

    As usual, it makes me vomit rage. Choosing to make something, and particularly to write a book, is always a brave choice, and to be applauded. The sort of people that make these comments are almost always the same ones who don’t trouble themselves to talk to unpublished writers.

  2. Six years ago, I was one of those unpublished writers doing NaNoWriMo in order to learn the discipline of writing daily. That novel is now published (after being rewritten from scratch), and the one I drafted for the following year’s Nano comes out next month. So yeah, it does work!

    I have many friends who do NaNo and will probably never get published because they lack the self-discipline to work on their craft for the rest of the year, but a) that’s true of most writers anyway and b) that still doesn’t invalidate the act of self-expression, any more than learning to play an instrument with no intention of doing it professionally. I’m not sure why writing is singled out as something you “cannot” do simply for the love of it.

  3. Nanowrimo is to writing as homeopathy is to medicine.

    This is my art. This is my life. I wring my words onto the page in a toruous ritual. Mimicking the ritual but losing the substance is WRONG! Proles writing is belittling the ordeal I put myself throughh every day so that others can bask in my work.

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