NaNoWriMo 2008, Day #1

Word count: 4285.

It was a good start, even though I didn’t make 5k words. I still wrote more than twice the daily quota, which will help me cope with really busy days like this next Monday.

The NaNoWriMo websites are having huge performance issues today. I mean that they are extremely slow – with frequent timeouts. Just updating my word count for the day was painful. Forget about using the forums. This is fairly sad – I mean, this is 2008, and they seem to get plenty of donations to keep themselves running. Yet they seem to consider 3000 concurrent users to be a high load. Hm. The lesson I take away from this is, do not use Drupal for anything remotely important.

In more general observations, Ken Kiser really hates NaNoWriMo. I can appreciate that it is not everybody’s cup of tea, and I can totally understand why Ken would much rather stick to his established routine getting his second book done. But I do think he overshot the mark here. So much so that it reads like borderline trolling.

Just because some guy he knows doesn’t prepare for NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean everybody is like that. And even if so, how is that a bad thing? NaNoWriMo is not, as Ken has realized, about creating the next great work of art, it is about getting a novel done. Any novel. I myself find it much easier to work on something if there is some kind of purpose, a kind of goal. Something concrete, not a vague “maybe”. That’s why I liked World Building Month, and that’s why I take part in NaNoWriMo. I am sure I am not the only one who benefits from such projects.

Yes, a lot of what is being written for NaNoWriMo is crap. Sure. I’ll happily include what I am doing in that “crap” category. Again, is that a bad thing? The people who are doing it are enjoying it. They have fun doing it. For example I suck at drawing pretty pictures. But I have fun doing it. So why shouldn’t I?

The only reason why NaNoWriMo focuses on quantity over quality is… (get ready for the surprise)… you can measure quantity very easily. Quality is subjective and judging it doesn’t scale. At all. You can “win” NaNoWriMo by submitting a book of Lorem ipsum, yeah. So what? Who is hurting if someone decides to be that lame?

I’m fairly sure not many NaNoWriMo authors actually submit their works to publishers or agents, but hey, why shouldn’t they? It’s their right to submit it; it’s the publishing company’s right to toss it into the garbage.

Why should a novel that is being written slowly over an extended period of time be inherently better than one that was written in a short time? There are many other factors that determine the quality much more than whether it was written for NaNoWriMo or not. Yes, there are actually a couple of NaNoWriMo novels that sell and get published. If Ken’s slow and steady method does not produce a book that sells, but a NaNoWriMo author produces a book in a month and then is able to sell it, does that automatically disqualify the slow and steady method? No, of course not.

Finally, yes, a novel is usually longer than 50k words. So what? As a criticism of NaNoWriMo this is just silly. It’s an arbitrary number. More than 50000 words becomes unrealistic very quickly unless you extend the event to more than a month and that, too, is unrealistic. Besides fifty thousand words are still more than a novella usually has.

Writing a novel for NaNoWriMo is like building a sand castle at the beach. It’s fun. In the evening you pack up and go home and your life is richer by an experience. You don’t have to be a professional architect to do it.

Besides, some sand castles turn out quite nicely. 😉

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3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2008, Day #1


  1. An excellent progress. I decided not to bother with the main page. I don’t understand how 3k users can make the site crash constantly, esp. given the amount of money they raise each year.


  2. Nadia, I had exactly the same thought and I just wanted to be a little nice in my post. Yes, one would think with the kind of cash they raise they could afford a working infrastructure. It’s not like NaNoWriMo.org offers complicated services.

    Chibi, after I read Ken’s reply to the comments on his post I’d say he is definitely trolling – quite sad, really, but if he wishes to leave that impression with people then that is his choice.

    Thank you both for stopping by!

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