The more people writing, the better! Really, writing should be encouraged. We can never have too many writers, artists, dancers, or musicians. But NaNoWriMo as a Thing To Do has always been kind of lost to me, and as people are posting their word counts on social media, I just can’t help but explain why.
You Can’t Count your Way towards Better Art
NaNoWriMo is about writing 50,000 words by the end of the month of November, which means writing approximately 1667 words every day. But 50,000 words doesn’t necessarily equal a novel. Some stories can be told effectively and be commercially successfully in a lot fewer words. Many stories take a lot more.
Honestly, 50,000 for a “novel” might be a little on the short side. Good for children’s books, or if you’re Vonnegut or Hemingway. J.K. Rowling’s books started shorter (Sorcerer’s Stone was 77,000) and then, as they got interesting, became decent-sized. Four NaNoWriMo’s worth.
A great painting is not made better by having more paint strokes. A symphony isn’t better by having 50,000 notes as opposed to 35,522 or 272,395. But NaNoWriMo by nature is built around counting. It was started as a community project to help a handful of San Francisco writers practice their craft in miserable weather. It clearly struck a nerve, since so many people want to participate. But the participation effort is about writing a certain number. The helpers include several ways to count your words or build word count apps. That’s what apps do. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Less Counting, More Dancing”