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NaNoWriMo 2013

Vernikova

Champion
I searched and couldn't find a thread about this and the previous threads were made here soooooo

Did anyone else participate?

This was my first year and I reached 50K a day early. I started late and 14K behind the pace but I caught up.

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How did everyone else do?
 

Avenger Angel

Warrior of Heaven
How did everyone else do?

Heh, I tried it twice in the years past, and definitely didn't do well at all. In a literary since, NaNo feels like drowning.

When writing both NaNo stories, I found that in order to meet the daily word expectation, I ended up shoving forward ideas that should have had more time incubating and not be released so early on in the plot, just because I kept running out of material and needed to keep things moving, or risk falling behind. The alternative was pumping it full of useless and meaningless filler, which I'll admit I resorted to as well. With each day came more words to pump into it, and as a result, it left very, very little time to go back and fix mistakes that may have greatly affected the story in a detrimental way. Instead, I found myself building on wobbly and shaky plot foundations both times, and later on, they became steeper, slippery slopes of being unhappy with the plot and having no time to fix it up or really reflect on what I was writing. Instead of feeling like art, the stories took on a very cheap, junky, made in China kind of feel to them, and rather than continue with something I felt wasn't doing me any good whatsoever, I pulled the plug on it.

To me, NaNo is more like just a drill-writing exercise than a real, serious attempt to develop masterful bestseller novel material. NaNo seems more geared toward quantity rather than quality, and as a result, you definitely won't have the kinds of stories that are driven with passion and patience. If you really want a finished product that would be more like a true novel, you'll give your stories and ideas time to incubate, flourish, and develop rather than try to force out a premature birth.
 

Astinus

Well-Known Member
I didn't do any sort of official participation, but I did put in the most focus towards my writing. I finished six chapters (half of which were written by hand, so I can't tell you exactly how many words that is easily). With those out of the way, I was able to start three different stories, and made good progress on one of them.

Like Avenger Angel, I found that NaNo left me scrambling for undeveloped plot threads just to hit the daily word count. The last time I officially attempted NaNo, I had 35,000 words of messy plots and characters that went nowhere, leaving me a story that was completely unsalvageable. That's just for me, but I know there are others who completed novels they never would have if it wasn't for NaNo.
 

JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
To me, NaNo is more like just a drill-writing exercise than a real, serious attempt to develop masterful bestseller novel material. NaNo seems more geared toward quantity rather than quality, and as a result, you definitely won't have the kinds of stories that are driven with passion and patience. If you really want a finished product that would be more like a true novel, you'll give your stories and ideas time to incubate, flourish, and develop rather than try to force out a premature birth.

Depends on how you work, really. For some people, this is true, but there's others who are still pretty passionate about what they create. I even know that some folks doing NaNo have actually published the results of their 50k run. The trick is that they've planned out their novel before November (which is totally kosher so long as you don't actually write it), and on top of that, they usually have a lot of free time. Besides, I'm not so sure if it's true to say that people who are right now pushing 100k words don't put passion and patience into their story. It's just that they operate differently compared to quite a few people who are lucky to be pushing 50k.

That said, I actually hit 50k on November 21, but I'm right now attempting to get to 62k for reasons. (I'm currently sitting at 59k, so a writing blitz is in order tonight.) While the novel I'm working on isn't the best I've ever done (and there are a few things in it that feel like filler right now but just need a bit more fleshing out), it's something I do actually plan on finishing, fixing up, and publishing. Problem is that by the time I've hit 62k, I'll only be halfway through, so I might use December or January to try to finish it, depending on whether or not I want to do anything special on the fanfiction side of things.

The main reason why I was able to hit this mark, as I've said, is because I planned ahead and had a lot of free time (particularly to go to meet-ups or do all-night writing blitzes), but yeah, I did say it's not my best. Other people, on the other hand, have put out some pretty impressive work in past NaNo jaunts, so I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were some pretty fabulous bits of lit coming out of this year's run.
 

Avenger Angel

Warrior of Heaven
Depends on how you work, really. For some people, this is true, but there's others who are still pretty passionate about what they create. I even know that some folks doing NaNo have actually published the results of their 50k run. The trick is that they've planned out their novel before November (which is totally kosher so long as you don't actually write it), and on top of that, they usually have a lot of free time. Besides, I'm not so sure if it's true to say that people who are right now pushing 100k words don't put passion and patience into their story. It's just that they operate differently compared to quite a few people who are lucky to be pushing 50k.

That said, I actually hit 50k on November 21, but I'm right now attempting to get to 62k for reasons. (I'm currently sitting at 59k, so a writing blitz is in order tonight.) While the novel I'm working on isn't the best I've ever done (and there are a few things in it that feel like filler right now but just need a bit more fleshing out), it's something I do actually plan on finishing, fixing up, and publishing. Problem is that by the time I've hit 62k, I'll only be halfway through, so I might use December or January to try to finish it, depending on whether or not I want to do anything special on the fanfiction side of things.

The main reason why I was able to hit this mark, as I've said, is because I planned ahead and had a lot of free time (particularly to go to meet-ups or do all-night writing blitzes), but yeah, I did say it's not my best. Other people, on the other hand, have put out some pretty impressive work in past NaNo jaunts, so I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were some pretty fabulous bits of lit coming out of this year's run.

Take a look at Mark Twain, who took a two year hiatus while writing Huckleberry Finn. Sometimes the best way to complete a novel is to give it time to rest and incubate so that spark of inspiration and interest can be renewed, which is exactly what happened in this case. Do that for even just a few days during NaNo, and you could be setting yourself impossibly back in a way that may make it impossible to catch up. This is why NaNo just doesn't make sense.

The BIG problem with NaNo is that it bends toward a particular speed and quantity-focused writing style and alienates the patient and prudent author that takes their time carefully piecing together their work, which is a perfectly acceptable and justifiable approach toward writing a very great story. NaNo is like the Olympics deciding to have only swimming events and take out absolutely everything else. Sure, your track and fielders and gymnastics specialists would try to switch gears, but for obvious reasons, they won't be as successful because they trained to become athletes in a totally different way. Not only is it not fair, but it's quite discouraging and doesn't make much sense. You say that NaNo may have brought out a few respectable stories this year, which I'm not going to deny because for some this approach is right up their alley, but I'm quite sure it did the opposite as well, and ended up killing a few novel ideas that had potential, but the author was forced to engage in writing practices that don't match their style, personality, and approach and as a result, their attempt was met with failure, frustration, and discouragement.

And again, the numbers quite truthfully mean nothing. You could have a story that's 800K. It means nothing if it's junk and no reader would find it worth their time. The goal for successfully completing NaNo is simply to just hit enough words before the end of the month, which quite frankly, can be done just writing "blah, blah, blah" a few tens of thousands of times. You've got to ask yourself, what is really accomplished just by completing NaNo? Sorry to burst your bubble, but not much.

Failing NaNo doesn't mean anything either. Usually failure can be corrected by treating it as a learning experience, but in this case, you're pushing a writer to switch their writing style when that's not necessary and may not be the right fit for that kind of personality. It's not wrong for writer to take their time and carefully flesh out their story over a longer period of time. But NaNo treats it like it's wrong and that you'll never successfully complete NaNo for as long as you keep doing that.

Point being, there's better, more logical, and more reasonable ways of pushing forward a prospective author's motivation and inspiration. Everyone has their own ways of writing a story, and there are many different styles, means, and ways of completing a great story that will enrapture readers. NaNo only caters to some of those writers, and alienates and discourages the others into thinking maybe they're just not cut out to be authors even though they perfectly can be if they just say to heck with NaNo's approach and continue doing a good job the way they feel works best for them.
 

Dragonfree

Just me
NaNo is like the Olympics deciding to have only swimming events and take out absolutely everything else. Sure, your track and fielders and gymnastics specialists would try to switch gears, but for obvious reasons, they won't be as successful because they trained to become athletes in a totally different way. Not only is it not fair, but it's quite discouraging and doesn't make much sense.
What? NaNo isn't the Olympics. It's a casual "Let's go swimming every day for a month!" campaign hosted every year by the local swimming pool. And you're a gymnast showing up to the swimming pool to scream at everyone that it's not fair the swimming pool isn't also hosting other athletic events, and how dare they, and by the way swimming sucks and makes you feel like you're drowning. And then you insist that somehow it's the swimming pool that's disrespectful of people who prefer other kinds of athletic events.

If NaNo doesn't mesh with how you write, don't participate in NaNoWriMo. The only person holding a whip over you saying everybody must take part in NaNo or they're not a ~real writer~ is yourself. NaNo doesn't tell anyone how they're supposed to write - it's a thing you can join if you want to, if the kind of thing it's about seems like the kind of thing you'd like to do. And yet you keep wading into the NaNoWriMo threads here to rain on everyone else's parade just because it happens not to be to your particular tastes.

Different writers absolutely do have different writing styles, and there are definitely people for whom NaNoWriMo would be a terrible idea. There are also people who find they work really well under pressure, or people who already know how the story they want to write goes but usually get so caught up in trivial details that they don't get anywhere getting them down on paper, and for those people NaNoWriMo can be massively helpful. And then there are people who know their output will be unsalvageable crap but find the exercise helpful for improving their skills nonetheless - or they just think it's plain fun. A lot of writers, maybe most writers, get something out of NaNoWriMo, one way or another, and participate in it for that (if they have the time and energy). But if you don't get anything out of it, that's fine too! It is not a measure of your worth as a writer and nobody is trying to sell it as that. It's an optional exercise to be undertaken freely if it strikes your fancy and otherwise not.
 
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JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
Take a look at Mark Twain, who took a two year hiatus while writing Huckleberry Finn. Sometimes the best way to complete a novel is to give it time to rest and incubate so that spark of inspiration and interest can be renewed, which is exactly what happened in this case.

Which is great, but to say that this is the only way to write a novel (yes, I know you said sometimes, but the rest of your post uses this as an argument for why NaNo sucks, so ...), you end up making a generalization about writers. :/ Not everyone works the way you're describing. Yes, that's Mark Twain, but there's also Orson Scott Card, who basically wrote Ender's Game in a single sitting and then went back and fleshed it out. Or alternatively, if you want something that was done for NaNo, iirc, that's what Dragonfree's Morphic was. Again, granted, people go back and edit, but that's the thing. NaNo doesn't expect you to have a complete and publishable novel by the end. It simply expects you to push yourself into being productive. You're supposed to go back and edit (or finish) after you've met your mark. But this is true for every publishable novel, really. No first draft is perfect, but with NaNo, you're basically writing a first draft.

(Edit: Dragonfree just let me know that Morphic wasn't a NaNo project. However, elyvorg's Foregone Conclusion was. That, as a side reminder, wound up taking home a couple of nominations and an actual award in 2011. Not to mention just look at it in all its glory.)

Point is, I'm not arguing that you're wrong; what I'm saying is that you're making a statement that doesn't apply to everyone and offering it up as advice to writers in a way that could mislead them. NaNo isn't for everyone, sure. If you're not comfortable with writing under a time limit, you really will end up fumbling and failing. But there are ways to finish NaNo and come out of it with something that you wouldn't mind showing others after a bit of polishing and editing. It just requires you to be a very specific kind of writer or to strategize a certain way. So my advice, honestly, is to try it once if you're curious about it because failing does teach you something: it teaches you what your preferred writing style actually is. And that's really true of any writing style, really. It's okay to experiment and to try writing challenges of any kind (prompt challenges, timed challenges, genre challenges, and so forth) that make you work outside your comfort zone. That way, you can figure out what you do and do not prefer to write. Sometimes, challenging yourself to complete a new type of project will allow you to find that you're actually good at something you didn't think you'd be good at.

Sure, NaNo doesn't make sense to you because it didn't work for you. And that's totally okay. But that's still only your experience and your opinion. All that says, at the risk of being overly blunt, is that you don't work well under the pressure of an extreme time constraint. Others, meanwhile, are perfectly okay with working under a deadline. I'm actually quite happy with my own novel right at the moment, and I'm rather proud that I reached 50k, if only because I was in a productive and personal slump beforehand. NaNo was my chance to get back into writing. So, yeah, I'm glad I participated, and I'm even happier that I was able to complete a goal I set for myself.

Besides, here's a thing that not many people know about NaNo: it started off as a local writing event. Think of it like this. It was geared towards writers of a specific city (San Francisco specifically) and was created for the purpose of bringing together all of the writers in the area to sit down and, well, write. And it grew from there because you don't really have too many other writing events that brings together so many different people from so many different backgrounds with so many different writing styles and preferred genres. Sure, you could create one, but if you take away the time constraint, you're left with just a writing community. Doesn't quite get as much buzz as an actual challenge, you know? Especially an actual annual challenge with pretty heavy rules. That's why people get excited about NaNo: it brings writers together because it's a sort of common ground. You work outside of your comfort zone, but you're also encouraged, through the NaNo community, to do it literally too by going out and meeting writers from your area or by reaching out through cyberspace to connect with other writers online in a temporary community.

But other than that, ultimately, NaNo is a game. It's optional. You can quit at any time. You can change the rules to fit your own personal challenge. (I know quite a few people who are aiming for significantly fewer than 50k.) You can even not participate if you don't want to, maybe even just mooch off the chatrooms and threads to find authors to talk to. So it's rather extreme to say that NaNo is forcing writers to do anything or that it alienates them. Sure, it's competitive, but that's why it's not for everyone.

If you'd like to create your own writing challenge that suits your fancy, by all means, go for it! It'd be cool if the writing community had options. But please understand that NaNo was set up as a very specific challenge for a slightly less specific reason.
 
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Avenger Angel

Warrior of Heaven
Eh, some people are definitely reading me the wrong way and are putting words in my mouth. And to the guy that actually docked my reputation over this... come on, dude, that wasn't necessary. You know who you are.

When it comes to the creative realm (art, music, writing), everyone has different styles and some people will like what others produce and others won't, which is why I'm saying that people should take caution when attempting NaNo and it shouldn't be seen as the go-to measure for determining who is a capable author and who isn't. Some people treat it like it is. Some people will also try to peer pressure all their friends into doing it.

Other questions are these. Why 50K? How did they come up with that number? Why November, especially when for some, it's a much busier month than say June or July? Thanksgiving says hello.

In truth, you're better off just sticking with a New Year's Resolution if you really feel you need some kind of motivational push to get something accomplished. If June and July are your best months, use those. If 50K just seems like an ugly number, set it higher or lower depending on your tastes and what you think is a reachable goal that isn't too easy, but isn't impossible. I think the problem with NaNo is there's this element of peer pressure, comparison, and competition in a field that's considered creative art and for some, shouldn't be rushed or measured in quantifiable aspects. Someone else sets the writing month and the number. Well, why? If you friends are taking part in NaNo, yeah, you're going to get peer pressured into it because of that social need. If you don't, you get alienated and that's one less thing you have in common with your friends. So, if your friends are doing NaNo, are you just going to abandon them?

When I attempted NaNo both times (yes, I was peer pressured into it), I didn't realize it was practically a must to use October as a planning month. Okay, some of you are probably thinking that BAM, that's where you totally went wrong and the chances of doing better and actually completing NaNo are much higher. Yeah, do your homework first, and I figured yeah, that makes sense. Maybe so. Second, I don't think I've ever had a non-busy-as-heck November. June or July would probably be better. But for others, November is better. The truth is, NaNo takes quite a bit of time to attempt, and that means stripping time away from other things. And where is that time coming from? Less sleep, less work, cooking, or spending time with your friends and family?

And I get what people are saying that "if it doesn't work for you, don't participate in it!" Fair enough, that's exactly why I stopped taking part in it. But what about the guy that feels pushed into it because his friends are doing it, or the writer that would love to improve and is avidly looking for exercises and writing training that could help them, and they hear of NaNo even though that's not really the exercise that would be best for them or they're just not ready for it yet? I can agree that for some people, NaNo is right for them and it really helps push them, but can't we all agree that it isn't right for everyone?
 

Firebrand

Indomitable
When it comes to the creative realm (art, music, writing), everyone has different styles and some people will like what others produce and others won't, which is why I'm saying that people should take caution when attempting NaNo and it shouldn't be seen as the go-to measure for determining who is a capable author and who isn't. Some people treat it like it is. Some people will also try to peer pressure all their friends into doing it.

No one, anywhere, ever has made the claim that NaNo is a go-to measure for determining whether or not one is a capable author. Many famous, accomplished published writers would never attempt to do NaNo. There are undoubtedly writing communities online that have the philosophy that if you don't do NaNo, you can't sit at the cool kids table, but Serebii is most certainly not one of those places, nor have I ever had the misfortune to encounter one.

Other questions are these. Why 50K? How did they come up with that number? Why November, especially when for some, it's a much busier month than say June or July? Thanksgiving says hello.

I would guess it's 50k because that's a difficult milestone to reach, but it is doable. People can do it, but oftentimes it takes everything they have to get there. Going less might make it seem less challenging, while more would turn people off. Plus, 50 is a good round number. And November, well, because it's National November Writing Month. Alliteration. NaJu does not have a similar allerative ring. Also, in July's case, it has 31 days.

If you friends are taking part in NaNo, yeah, you're going to get peer pressured into it because of that social need. If you don't, you get alienated and that's one less thing you have in common with your friends. So, if your friends are doing NaNo, are you just going to abandon them?

I do have friends who were doing NaNo, and they all tried to rope me into it. Except that I take five high level courses that require me to write a lot of papers, and set aside time to do my 300 pages or more of reading a week, plus working a part time job, plus various other extra curriculars and recovering from my writing slump on the last novel I finished as I move into the sequel. I knew I'd have no time at all to do NaNo, no matter how much they harangue me. Did I abandon them for the course of the month? No, but we work around different schedules anyway. If they wanted to budget time and effort for NaNo, by all means. Most of the time they were doing it while I was at work anyway.

And I get what people are saying that "if it doesn't work for you, don't participate in it!" Fair enough, that's exactly why I stopped taking part in it. But what about the guy that feels pushed into it because his friends are doing it, or the writer that would love to improve and is avidly looking for exercises and writing training that could help them, and they hear of NaNo even though that's not really the exercise that would be best for them or they're just not ready for it yet? I can agree that for some people, NaNo is right for them and it really helps push them, but can't we all agree that it isn't right for everyone?

No one ever said it was. No one has ever made the claim it was. And if the guy is going into it only because his friends are, then he's probably approaching it with the wrong philosophy.

As for myself, nope, no attempt at NaNo this year for the aforementioned reasons. That said, I did get 18k into Dark Rising (starting Nov. 4) on top of beginning to edit some early chapters of Dark Pawn. Maybe it's not too impressive to someone who managed to 50k or more, but considering my busy schedule this past month, I'm rather impressed with myself. Some year, I am going to do NaNo, but it will be at a time when I can go to work for eight hours, and then come home, and not have other work to worry about. NaNo doesn't match my style of working, like AA was talking about, but it's an interesting challenge I'd like to put myself through. Normally my novels end up being between 175-200k, and I work on them for about 10 months to a year at a gradual pace, working around school and other obligations. But it would be an interesting test of my skills and writing prowess, so I'm more than willing to give it a shot.

To the point above that NaNo tends to lead to subpar work... well, yeah. The goal is to put down as many words as possible. When all's said and done, you have a 50k story and, even if it's not done, you have a damn good idea of where your plot is headed. You can take the month of December to fix up what you've got, and then you have all the time in the world to finish it. Or if you've become disillusioned with the idea, you can drop it and still have all the experience gained from banging out 50k words in a month. As every single writer ever will tell you, amateur or professional, the only way to get to be a better is by writing. Theory is great and all, but there's a reason writing classes make you actually write. Without hands-on experience, you're never going to improve. And people who do NaNo just wrote a metric f*ckton, so there's no way in hell they didn't get better at something. Like you said early on, as a writing drill, it's without parallel. If you think the novel you write in NaNo is going to be publishable material come Dec 1, then you're probably naive. But with a month or two of sprucing up? Go for it, kiddo.
 

Dragonfree

Just me
When it comes to the creative realm (art, music, writing), everyone has different styles and some people will like what others produce and others won't, which is why I'm saying that people should take caution when attempting NaNo and it shouldn't be seen as the go-to measure for determining who is a capable author and who isn't. Some people treat it like it is. Some people will also try to peer pressure all their friends into doing it.
As Firebrand said, I have never seen anyone ever claim that NaNoWriMo is the go-to measure for determining who is a capable author and who isn't. How would that even make sense? Winning NaNoWriMo is a personal accomplishment of getting something done, but it clearly in no way signifies writing ability, only some willpower and self-discipline. Nobody claims otherwise.

In particular, absolutely nobody here was claiming anything remotely in that direction. You seem to be fighting strawmen that, if they exist at all, are certainly not part of this thread.

NaNoWriMo is 50K in November because the challenge needs some kind of set official goal and because the community aspect of lots of people being in this together spurring each other on requires that it be an event at a fixed time, so some arbitrary month and some doable but challenging amount of words had to be picked for the official NaNoWriMo. (It actually stands for "National Novel Writing Month", no "November", so it could just as well take place some other month, but I'd imagine November might have been picked simply because it shares the first four letters with the word "novel".) If you'd rather write 40,000 words in July, you can do that if you want. NaNoWriMo means nothing but your personal sense of accomplishment, so it doesn't matter if the official challenge's parameters aren't convenient for you and you prefer to do something different. Again, your complaints would make more sense if NaNoWriMo was the official writing tournament held by the National Consortium of Writers with automatic publishing rights for anyone who wins. But it's not. It's a silly meaningless challenge to keep people motivated if that's the kind of thing that helps them with motivation. It's competitive, but only in the most casual sense - you're not expected to do NaNo, or expected to win NaNo, and because there are no real prizes there is no loss if you don't manage it. It might well be more convenient for your average people if it happened in July, and that's a legitimate critique to make, but again, that would be analogous to wanting the swimming pool to be open longer or thinking the drains need to be cleaned better, whereas you seem to be trying to use it to just say that the swimming pool sucks.

And not taking part in NaNoWriMo when your friends are doing it isn't abandoning them. How do you even get that conclusion? You don't have to do everything your friends do, and that's okay. If your friends are all busy writing and can't see you, well, I sympathize, but then the month is over and you can continue where you left off - it's no worse than anything else that people might be doing that keeps them busy for a limited amount of time, like writing a Ph. D. thesis or studying abroad. And if your friends are seriously trying to pressure you into participating even when you've explained that you personally don't find it helpful or enjoyable and have better things to do with your time, they're kind of sucky friends, which is not NaNoWriMo's problem.

Avenger Angel said:
I can agree that for some people, NaNo is right for them and it really helps push them, but can't we all agree that it isn't right for everyone?
Yes, we can. Everybody already agrees that it's not right for everyone, and has said so repeatedly. Who are these straw people you're fighting?
 
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JX Valentine

Ever-Discordant
Side note about the technical questions concerning NaNo:

Why 50k?: Two reasons. First, Firebrand's right. Second, because fifty thousand words is, according to some people, the minimum number of words needed to actually have a novel. Anything less becomes a novella.

Why November?: Believe it or not, this is actually answered by their Wikipedia page. Originally, it was done in July (which is one of the two times of the year Camp NaNoWriMo takes place these days, for those of you looking for something to take advantage of the summer break), but it was moved to November because that's when the worst weather in the San Francisco area takes place. Remember—this started out as a local event.

That all said, Firebrand's pretty much on the money about everything else. But also, a couple more points to emphasize:

1. Why do we do NaNo instead of a New Year's resolution? Because the beauty of NaNo is that it's a competition within a short period of time. Some people have trouble keeping New Year's resolutions because it takes place across a year, so they're more likely to procrastinate or forget about it. If they have a set goal within a short time frame, that helps them focus and realize that they need to pace themselves and keep at it. The competition, meanwhile, isn't really a bad thing for them. By comparing their progress with other people, that keeps the reminder that they have to sit down and keep working fresh in their minds.

2. If someone is actually pressured into taking on NaNo by their friends, then ... I'd hate to say it, but that's more of an issue with the person in question, not with NaNo. Like people have been saying, no one is forcing you to participate. It's up to you to decide for yourself whether or not NaNo is a good idea. Blaming NaNo for making someone who caved to peer pressure feel terrible for not attaining a goal is like blaming a night club for letting someone with finals the next morning go out clubbing with their friends, y'know? If you have finals the next morning (still speaking in analogies here), it's up to you to say, "Sorry, I really can't do this." And if you suffer from social anxiety, hey, same thing. You really can say no if you don't want to do it, and if you don't say no ... then that's not really NaNo's problem.

Well, that and if they're the kinds of people who can hammer out 2k in an hour (i.e., the variety of people who work well under the pressures of NaNo and for whom NaNo works) and if they're actually decent friends, then they really should be able to socialize with you/other people just fine. I mean, NaNo doesn't really consume people's entire beings, regardless of what the tagline says. Like with all interests, people exist outside of it, y'know? So to say that they'll alienate you/other people by doing NaNo would be a lot like talking about someone for whom fandom consumes their entire being to the point where they can only talk about that fandom at any given time. And sure, there are people like that, but by and large, most people in fandoms—and, likewise, NaNo—know to talk about other things when interacting with people who are not in the fandom/participating.

As for the guy just looking for a writing challenge in order to learn and improve without really knowing what it's about, NaNo's pretty open about what it is, and the writers who talk about NaNo do their best to explain what you have to do in order to reach 50k. No one ever said it was for beginning writers. However, most people do learn about NaNo through writing communities, so if they figured out that NaNo isn't for them ... then they still have the writing community to help them learn and grow. Like Firebrand said, no one's trying to make NaNo out to be something you do to figure out whether or not you're a capable author. So it's generally assumed that you have the ability to communicate with people in the writing community where you found out about NaNo in order to get advice on general writing and on whether or not NaNo is right for you.

Lastly, lemme just say this:

Avenging Angel said:
I can agree that for some people, NaNo is right for them and it really helps push them, but can't we all agree that it isn't right for everyone?

That's ... pretty much what everyone's been saying from the get-go. See, the main thing that's tripping people up about your posts is you keep insisting that NaNo is a bad thing. You're not really completing the train of thought by tagging on "for some people" to that sentence. You're saying competition is bad, people will be subjected to peer pressure, and if you write 50k in a month, you're not going to come out with anything full of passion. Maybe you meant that this is true for some people, but the problem with saying that NaNo's downsides are this, this, and this is that NaNo's downsides aren't actually downsides for everyone.

That and, well, you're dispensing personal opinion as advice. You can't really say "don't try NaNo" just because it didn't work out for you. After all, what if someone really thinks it would be fun, but you're telling them that it will never result in a decent work and that they'll be crushed and alienated and whatnot? A better way to phrase that would be, "Assess your writing skills. Think about how much you write in a day. Ask around to see how much 50k actually is and how much time people take to write the minimum 1667 words a day and then figure out whether or not that would be stressful for you. Look at your schedule and see if you have free time. If NaNo still sounds like a fun time even after you've done enough research into the event, then do the event and see what happens. If it sounds like a bit much after you've really thought about it, then don't do it. What happens if you thought you can do it at first but then crash and burn partway through? Then you know not to do it again, or, for the masochists among us, you decide to practice and plan ahead for next year." Just don't tell someone not to do something unless it's quite obviously a bad idea for everyone, y'know?

Also, while I'm here, I'd like to second this:

Firebrand said:
There are undoubtedly writing communities online that have the philosophy that if you don't do NaNo, you can't sit at the cool kids table, but Serebii is most certainly not one of those places, nor have I ever had the misfortune to encounter one.

I haven't encountered a writing community that alienates people for not doing NaNo either. Hell, even NaNo's forums[/url] are not the kind of community that does that. (I mean, sure, obviously, everyone's going to be talking about NaNo throughout November there, but you can actually go there for writing tips and to hang out with other writers, even if you're not doing NaNo or a proper NaNo run. They're pretty chill like that.)


Anyway, I'd also like to put in that I was serious about the bit how you should organize another event that might be more friendly to the folks who aren't speed writers if you'd really like to give people a sane alternative to NaNo. Because eff yeah, more writing events. Just sayin'.
 
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Vernikova

Champion
Didn't think this would be such a touchy subject.

I think this quick writing in the span of a month helped me. It got most of my ideas down on paper (or pixels) and I can just go back and edit stuff. Before November, it was just an idea sitting in my head for two or three years and now it's typed out. Though I can see where people can feel rushed by it.

I started a few days late and wrote my outline on the fifth day of the contest so if one rushed I think they could've made it through. I mean, it's not like I abandoned my friends and coursework to write this entire thing. I just wrote it out after I was done with things in real life. I just overwrote in some cases to compensate for any days I would (and did) miss.

Anyway, I've already have the plans for my next story for NaNo so hopefully I'll be done even earlier next year.
 
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