Why I really like NaNoWriMo…. and why I really hate it.

A few weeks ago I was reading someone’s entry about writer’s block being not the inability to write but hating everything written. (Was that you, Dean?)

I get both, really.  Sometimes I just can’t think of *anything* to write, and usually that’s when I’m mentally/emotionally exhausted by something or other.

Then there are phases where I get the “everything I’m writing is utter crap, drivel, tripe, cliched, flat, boring, lame…” you get the idea.   That’s what I’ve got right now.

What I really love about NaNoWriMo is it gives me permission to hate everything I’m writing, and still keep going.  The most important thing anyone can do in any kind of effort is to just keep going.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… and eventually whatever it is that is ‘wrong’ will sort itself out and you’ll get back to a place where you’re in the groove, the muse is happy, the words are flowing.

Trying to write every day can be very hard when you hate what you’re writing.  Forcing yourself to keep pushing through this kind of block is very exhausting because you’re not getting the same kind of payoff that you normally get from the hard work.

NaNo gives you permission to write utter crap, to hate it all, to detest ever word that falls from your fingers… and just keep going.  Something I really hate doing.

This is why I really hate NaNoWriMo, because I want to ‘win’, I mean most people do have some urge to hit the finish line, especially when the only person you’re really competing against is yourself.  But I never do.  I never get to 50,000 words.  I always get hung-up somewhere, either I can’t seem to get over the fact I hate what I’ve written so I keep trying to go back and edit and revise and change things instead of just keeping on, or because I have less and less time as work picks up because we’re getting closer to the end of the year and there’s a big push to get so much done, or because I just can’t seem to get the full 1,667 words out, and as each day goes by I fall a bit further behind that 50,000 word goal…

So it’s a little hard on the psyche to watch yourself get further behind, and it’s a little harder on the psyche to bash out any old jumble of words that you hate, and it’s even harder to know that because it’s so bad you’re never going to show anyone so what’s the point anyway!?

Yeah… I definitely have a love-hate relationship with NaNo.  But it isn’t really NaNo that I hate… it’s editing.  It’s revising.  I honestly have no idea how to do it, not really.

No one writes a perfect first draft.  But I’ve never figured out how to move beyond one!  I mean yes, I do revise *a little*… change a word, maybe rearrange a paragraph, but I’ve never really grasped the idea of how to really go through and revise a story or a novel.  It’s one of those utterly foreign and really a little terrifying concepts that just sort of hangs out there, threateningly on the horizon of writing.

So I love NaNo for giving me leave to write with wild abandon, and I hate NaNo for constantly reminding me what I *lack* as a writer.

And I thought up an idea.  And I’m already 1,000 words behind.


But I’ll do it again anyway.  I might not post it, though.  That remains to be seen.


What about you guys?  What’s the hardest part of what you love doing?  What’s the one thing you struggle with in your own endeavors?  What’s something you feel you just never got the hang of?


9 thoughts on “Why I really like NaNoWriMo…. and why I really hate it.

  1. Hey ‘Eliza’… I’m not sure if it was I who posted something about writer’s block or not. Perhaps, but I don’t believe in WB.

    (For me, anyhow) I place the sole blame for nonproductive time on my fear and laziness. I know (again, for me) that if I just sit down and write, regardless of mental attitude and such, it will flow. As long as I give it a chance. But my laziness (even though I’m chaste to admit it) forces me to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING but write.

    Another, larger factor is my logic and fear of failure. My stubborn logic halts me at times bc of shear fear of failing at getting anywhere with my writing. I say logic bc my logic says to my lazy self, “Do u really want to put all that Hard work and effort into something that may never become anything?” Bc of my love of writing the answer is ALWAYS yes! But it is stifling..

    As far as revision goes, I have yet to get to that point of completion (40,000 words and holding), but when (and I say WHEN, not if or if & when, but WHEN), I will address everything and I mean EVERYTHING that does not move the story forward, does not significantly build characters, or has no pertinent point to the story other than mere author indulgence.

    I too, (my laziness & fear) go back and revisit/edit what I have written instead if moving forward.

    I recently discovered that the reason I do this is (other than the laziness/fear) bc I do not have a solid ending yet. Or ‘aaa-ha moment, so to speak.

    Now mind you… I’ve learned that I’m a seat if the pants guy despite my logic, but again, to overcome this barrier, I need an end in sight. Bc, lets face it. If the end doesn’t blow you away, no matter how wonderful you write, it will leave the reader with a ‘so what?’ Taste in their mouth. And my logic will never stand for that!

    So I set myself about the task of researching a fresh idea (fresh from mainstream fiction) to iron out that ending so I’ll have a direction in which to push that ‘seat of my pants’ in.

    I know this is numerous, ‘Eliza’, but I have to thank you again. This post helped me to put down in words the shoddy thoughts in my head, only to provide more solid ground from which to stand.

    Thank you.

    You are my literary rock, please don’t falter. I, as sure as many, look up to you, as I’ve done in this post. Writer’s Block does not exist. Push it from you mind and ‘pen on’!

    • Wow you've (almost) left me speechless with that one! Thank you so much.
      You're right, one of the largest challenges I face is trying to solidify an ending. It's probably telling that the longest piece I ever wrote was written toward an end already known, it was just a matter of getting there.
      I actually feel a lot more confident now because this time, I already have an end in mind, so I have something to work toward.
      Okay! No excuses, no fear, no lazy, I will do this!

  2. In a way, the problems you are facing are the same for many of us. I’m not a writer, but I surely feel like I’m making crap way too often. Or that my weaving has nothing to do with art or originality. But one of the things that makes me fight these thoughts is my art journal, although I’m still too scared to allow my self to call my self an artist and to really truly dive into art journaling. But, I’m doing it bit by bit, and hopefully one day I’ll allow my self to do it properly even though many of my journal pages will never be seen by anyone except me. Art journal for me became a place to try new things, to try to paint (even though it’s always ugly), to try to draw, and just to do things I’ve never done before, and that gives me a feeling of freedom and a little bit of courage each time. Which probably reflects on other things I do.
    I think that what ever we do, and how ever we feel about it, it leaves something in us, something valuable. It enriches us, even if we don’t see that.

  3. The hardest part of what I love doing is that I am pretty much terrified of writing anything that will be read in public. Even leaving you a comment fills me with dread. I will read & re-read this a dozen times to make sure I’ve made no mistakes. I am a calligrapher – my trade is to make no textual errors. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and I’m well past my youth now. I found my freedom in painting – no one cares if the text is legible in my paintings, well almost no one. Anyway, my hope for you is that you will embrace your writing and rejoice in your typos because once you begin over-editing your work, there’s no end to it. I am truly happy for you that you have no idea how to edit. Now go write that book!

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