The totally honest and pointless adventures of an NaNoWriMo effort: Day 31, The Last Day

Day 31: 24 November 2013. The Last Day

Or Why #NaNoWriMo is actually a really bad idea (unless you have 30 days of free time).

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by ortizmj
CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 by ortizmj

Yes. I know it’s not the end of the month yet. But for me, this is the Last Day. Just listen!

I’ve alluded to this before, but there is no time to in a normal life to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Not if you have a real life; family, work, friends, cinema, pub, housework – you know, normal stuff. I even took a couple of days off work and I’m nowhere near. Looking ahead to the last few days, I might be able to grab 2 or 3 hours at the most of writing. Since I’ve only done 17,303 words, it would clearly take me about 2 to 3 months to write 50,000 words. Not going to happen. (Not to mention how long it would take me to write a novel of 120,000 words or more).

I’ve also alluded before that I’ve carried out no planning, no plotting and no character developement, because I felt I didn’t have ‘time’. I just ploughed on when I could. And its fine, the characters developed themselves and the story came along nicely.

So, why did I do this? Well, as a test. To see if I could. Which I can’t. Clearly. I can’t write that much and I can’t finished this story as it is. Knowing I’m not completing the NaNoWriMo means that I can now think properly about what I’ve written. It means I can plot and plan better, and I can write it as I choose with no word limit or time pressures. Which is a good thing, and why I think that NaNoWriMo is a bad idea. Trying to write that fast and to the exclusion of other considerations must only be counterproductive. You might say otherwise. You might say its a test and I’ve failed. Well, it’s not a good test. A test, an exam, an excercise needs to be pedagogically sound. There needs to be proper testing of skills and proper learning outcomes. This test doesn’t have them. Someone who can type really fast and has a lot – and I mean a lot – of free time might pass this test. But what’s the cost? I could have spent more time writing after work, but it would have been exhausting. I could have forgone housework and entertainment, but at the cost of good relationships. And for what? A 50,000 word novel. Which isn’t a novel anyway. And it’s not very good, for all the reasons described above.

I’ve decided to stop right now. This is no good for me or my story. It can become a worthwhile thing, however. The nature of the story means I can re-write it and make it a shorter story and include it within my Monsters project. Great.

Also, I’ve discovered I don’t like writing in the 3rd person at all. So, I’ll be re-writing it in the first person. But first, I will finish the other short story that I abandoned to try this thing out.

If you’re reading this on October 2014 and wondering if you should have a go at NaNoWriMo, I’d say that unless you have 30 days of no work, no friends and no family, and you’ve already plotted everything and written your character profiles, then yes, give it a go. But don’t put pressure on yourself.

You are a writer only if you want to write for yourself. Many authors and writers don’t make huge amount of money. Don’t do it for money and don’t do it just because of NaNoWriMo. Do it because you want to and because you can.

(c) NaNoWriMo
(c) NaNoWriMo

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