The problem is not NaNoWriMo; it’s your attitude about NaNoWriMo that’s the problem

I want to tell you guys a secret. Ready?

The point of NaNoWriMo is not to win.

*waits for gasping to stop*

The point is to use this time/goal boundary set to create a writing habit and get the ball rolling to build momentum for doing the larger work. It’s not going to make you a bestseller. It’s not even going to make you a great writer. What 50,000 words in 30 days is is a big chunk of motivation, inspiration, and “see, you can do this” to get you to write the rest of the book. It’s learning to treat writing as work instead of magic. It’s testing your strengths and finding your weaknesses as a writer. It’s challenging your preconceived ideas about what you’re capable of. It’s proving to you that words on a page – no matter how shitty – are better than words in your head.

“Winning” and “losing” NaNo isn’t about your wordcount. It’s about your attitude.

You win when you understand your writer-self better. You win by writing something you can use, something you’re proud of, something that means something to you. You win by claiming the label of “writer” for yourself. You win by rising to a new level of creativity and worksmanship. You win by writing.

The only way you lose is if you let fear win – if you stop writing.

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1 Comment

  1. Alexander Troup

    November 24, 2016 at 10:36 AM

    The problem is that the Nano “mentality” from regulars and MLs does not reflect the motivational side of it; nor the supportive side. The culture of most Nano groups is as a competition, as if half way through the month the people who are falling behind are ‘losers’ at that point in the month.

    Such a villifying mindset is not only damaging to the individual doing their best, but it is reinfoced throughout the month as more ‘losers’ drop out and more ‘winners’ remain.

    I was at a lock-in earlier this month, and the opening of the night seemed dedicated to the mls bragging about their word counts, and how they were already way over 50k.

    The problem with Nano is that it puts a number on how good you are as a writer, and then measures you against that number for 30 days straight.

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