It happens every year, but I forget. Sure enough, this year I tweeted about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you living under a rock (or living without someone in publishing in your life (which might as well be under a rock, since publishing people are all that is good and special in the world, right??))) and how much I love this event.
And whoa (or holy krakatoa!!). The response was instant and unbelievable. An agent? Loving NaNo?? No way. Agents hate NaNo. Agents complain about all the crappy, rushed manuscripts they get on December 1st. Agents blah blah blah.
Well I don’t speak for all agents, but I can speak for one, and I love NaNo. I love the energy and the optimism of it. I love the hope.
When I was in college (the last time before this blog that I did any substantial writing), I wrote all my papers the night before they were due and I thought revising meant hitting spell check.
I have since looked up the definition of revisions, and realized that it requires mucho time and effort. Which of course is why I don’t write.
But you do.
You’re writers. So just write. Just get the words down and worry about them later.
And that is the essence of NaNo.
Querying your 3rd manuscript and feeling like you want to give up if this one isn’t it, just go NaNo. Stuck on a plot point in the middle of your WIP? Take a break and go NaNo. Your agent is on submission with a manuscript and it’s making you crazy?? Just go NaNo!
I don’t know what situation you could possibly be in—published or not—that taking a one month break to NaNo would be a bad idea. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re not left with anything useful at the end? I just don’t see it.
I don’t see the pages at the end of November as the finished product (and neither should you), but rather as a new starting point. And personally, it seems like a much better starting point than a blank page.
NaNo isn’t the time to worry about query letters and rejections and marketing budgets and shrinking shelf space all the other worries of the publishing industry. NaNo is the time to get the words down. There will be plenty of time for worrying later. If you don’t have a story to worry about, you don’t have anything at all.
So does this mean I want to see a bunch of NaNo queries in December? Of course not. I’m speaking to you as professional writers. And professional writers edit. And then edit again. And again and again and again.
So rise to the NaNo challenge! And then later you can worry about the post-NaNo challenge…the one where you work your editing magic and make that NaNo baby publishable.
But you know what? I believe it can be done. And I love to see it happen.
*I can’t figure out how to cut this so you only see Mork saying Nanu Nanu, but the whole thing is kind of fun to watch if you’re old and dorky like I am and used to watch this show.