National Novel Writing Month (affectionately shortened to NaNoWriMo) made an appearance on the WordPress.com blog recently in conjunction with an invitation to warm up for the November project by participating in the PostADay challenge.
I attempted NaNoWriMo once in earnest and began preparing for it another time but decided in the end not to participate. I have really mixed feelings about the project, since I know that its participants produce a lot of really bad writing. That’s even somewhat by design, as the organizers emphasize word volume over word quality. And I see the point — better to have a rough stone you can polish into a fine surface than no stone at all. Still, when it comes down to just spilling a bunch of dreck onto the page, I have a really hard time. In my attempt in earnest, I wrote about 30,000 words of mostly awful prose before I could make myself do no more. I suspect that if you produce too big a pile of junk, the editing process becomes oppressive and the exercise futile.
The NaNoWriMo mentality strikes me as a somewhat bloggish mentality. That is, I think the two sometimes share the impulse to set the bar a bit lower for the sake of getting words on the screen. My tendency to prefer writing thoughtful, well-edited pieces is often to the detriment of documenting my life. How many posts I should have written about my children and didn’t because I didn’t feel like I had the time to do the posts their proper justice I can’t count. I would almost certainly benefit from approaching my blogging with a more NaNoWriMo-like mentality.
How about you? Do you leave things unwritten because you don’t feel like you have the time to perfect them? Would you consider setting up a private blog (perhaps using the p2 theme, which is great for quick updates) to capture the rough-draft ideas that you’re not keen on publishing but would like to preserve? I’m thinking of doing just that. Do you find that writing just to write leads you ultimately to write better or just to write more? And finally, are you willing to fess up to participating in NaNoWriMo?