So, Christina, wrote a comment (thanks christina!) regarding my little tirade on NaNoWriMo, that basically said, the project might allow (if I'm reading this right) for non or new writers to get a more clear understanding about what "being a writer" is, and maybe make it more accessible. But you can read the comment in more depth here.
I replied (as I do try to do to many comments), and when I was done I found that I had basically written another blog post on the subject, and I think it moves the conversation around, so I'm going to post it. I'm interested in what you all think, though I suspect that the NaNo-ers are deep in trenched in their novels, and the remainder probably don't care all that much. Anyway, here's my little response:
I really don't have anything against NaNo, and think it's a goods project. For many years now, I've been the leader of a small science fiction writers list on yahoogroups, and there's a way in which these folks who very much want to be writers, are sometimes afraid of plowing through a novel, so having a project like NaNo makes a lot of sense, and can sort of light the right kind of fire under peoples asses. So it's a great project for people who already write a lot, who haven't made the jump to novel writing, but maybe have always wanted to.
In this respect, I think the NaSweKniMo (national sweater knitting month, which is the brain child of Shannon. Okey (I think), is a great project in the best sprit of NaNoWriMo. then again, I think sweater knitting leaves you less prone for burnout than novel writing, but maybe that's just me.
And maybe this is the price of success for NaNoWriMo, but in the past couple of years, there are people who do NaNo because it's some cool social bonding ritual. There are write-ins, there are support groups, and it's all focused on the word count. Which really so not what writing is about, at least to me. Writing is so often a solitary practice that means neglected social ties, nights of insomnia when you can't get a story out of your mind, haggard pushes to deadlines, and a lot of time sitting around having arguments with yourself while scribing unintelligible notes on things that weren't meant to be written on.
I think that while this invokes a nativist-type epistemology that I'm not entirely comfortable with, it's true: writers write, not because they want to, but because they can't not write. I took several years off of fiction writing (the past four, or so,) but in that time managed to amass 200,000 words of writing for my blog, plus tons of stuff for classes, and I'm a better writer for it, so I think that still counts.
Anyway, there you have it...
Onward and Upward!