Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay
mhw

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Competitiveness in writing

The following is something I've written to someone concerning their feelings about the NaNoWriMo process, and I thought I'd share them with you. It pretty much encapsulates my take on it.


The way I see it is that you're writing this novel because it's the novel you're writing, and you only happened to be spurred into it by NaNoWriMo. The organisers could abandon the project tomorrow and you'd still be going ahead with your writing, right? Right.

I don't see it as "your NaNoWriMo attempt", but as "your novel". Why the hell should it matter to anyone else how it came about? what business of theirs would the creative process YOU use be, anyway? and if (I hope when) it's published, would you hope to be known as "the author of a damn fine book" or "the seventh fastest NaNoWriMoer in Papua New Guinea"?

Suppose I had a mad mad burst and I could write Conclave during November (SD is just, like, NO chance - it'll be waylong) and I did, who wrote it? NaNoWriMo or me? me. Because I wanted to write it. The fact that I may have been prodded into it 'cause novel-writing's in the air doesn't matter squat.

I think some people may have a harmful (for them) attitude to the NaNoWriMo process, to be honest, and my concern is that that might be beginning to affect you. Some of them are sounding, at least to me, so obsessive about the MECHANISM that I fear they're losing sight of what the real purpose and goal should be, which is the writing and the novel, not the wordcount and the race.

I'd rather write ten great good words than ten thousand weak and foolish ones, any day. And that's one of the reasons I won't ever NaNoWriMo (yep, I think that's now a Kay Policy, and those are rare things); the process itself would be inimical to me as a writer, as I fear it may be for them. Comparing myself with others is for me a quick road to vanity or anguish, and I'd rather not go either place.
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