I love Catherine Ryan Howard’s blog, Catherine, Caffeinated. She’s a smart cookie. And a smart mouth (probably a large part of the appeal for me). More importantly, she thinks deeply about the writing/publishing industry and she shares what she knows.
This week, Catherine wrote about National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo to the initiated. Lots of people I know, lots of people I edit, lots of people I follow on Twitter and Facebook participate in NaNoWriMo.
But apparently there are mixed feelings about it. Catherine tells the story of “a professional, published writer who truly felt slighted by NaNoWriMo. [It] was her profession, her vocation in life, and the fact that ‘some people’ thought they could come along and do it in the month—do the thing she had spent her adult life perfecting the craft of—made a mockery of it and her.”
(I’ll pause while the Carmina Burana playing in the background comes to a close.)
Catherine calls it NaNoWriMo Snobbery.
Professional writers, who the other eleven months of the year seem like the nicest, most generous and friendliest people, suddenly start tipping their noses in the air and saying or even writing things about how NaNoWriMo and the people who partake in it are belittling their profession, ridiculing their craft and making a mockery of the 1,670 words they write every single day of the year in order to make a living. …
Sure, there’s a probably a few people in there who have never as much as read a book who suddenly decide to drop everything and attempt to write one during the month of November. But all the people I know who do it are writers.
They are already writing, have always been and for whatever reason, find it difficult to fit writing into their lives every single day. … Some people, myself included, write more when a deadline is sending us daggers from the edge of our computer screen. Some people write more when they are spurred on by being part of a group whose members are also trying to write more at the same time. And some people have so much going on that they feel they can’t set aside time to write all the year around, but … NaNoWriMo gives them some kind of official permission to do it, just for thirty days.
NaNoWriMoers are, for the most part, writers. Not “some people.”
I’m with her on this. There are enough words to go around, right?
And there’s a lot more in the post than this little rant. One of the things I found particularly interesting is that one of my favorite books of this year—The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern—began its life as a NaNoWriMo project. Catherine has a lot to say about what you can accomplish during NaNoWriMo, and you should read the whole post.
And then get back to work!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”