>Don’t Be Knockin’ Da Tools!


Ha! You thought I was going to say boots, didn’t ya?

Lately around the blogosphere, I’ve been seeing something that, quite frankly, has me annoyed. Since this is my blog, my space, I figure I can say what I want to. I need to get this off my chest.

All around, I’ve been running into lots of nay-sayers, more or less poo-pooing nano. Their basic line is that all it’s good for is producing lots of drivel, producing quantity without quality, and inducing mindless wannabes to submit all their crappy first drafts under the misguided belief they’re going to get published.

Wow, thanks for the judgmental, unsolicited, stereotyped and clichéd opinion, folks. Didn’t know we writers were that stupid.

I am me. I cannot speak for all the other participants in NaNo. I can only speak for myself. And I’m gonna!

For all sorts of reasons, I’ve always made up stories in my head. I’ve lived in them many times. They provided an alternative to the realities in which I found myself. I used to write some pretty good short stories. They were good enough to earn A’s from teachers who didn’t believe in giving them. They were good enough to be read aloud, not just in my class, but in other classes, even in college. I’m not saying that to boast. I’m saying that to make a point.

I wrote a story once and let someone very close to me read it. It was mocked. It was ridiculed. It was laughed at. Not because it needed tweaking, either. I could have handled constructive criticism. It was a children’s story and they didn’t understand that. They thought I’d written a “babyish” story. The didn’t get the concept of ‘genre’. I didn’t write another word, not one single word, for over ten years. I dried up and died inside.

After my  mom died, I wrote her a letter, a poem. And I slowly began writing again.

I was encouraged by a friend, the very first encouragement I’d ever received outside of an English class. It almost frightened me; I was always punished for being successful or even just being good at anything. I was, and still am, afraid of success. I’m great with beginnings and terrible at follow through’s because of it.

Not only did I never receive any encouragement, no one ever cared enough to hold me accountable to anything. I’m the kind of person who needs some form of accountability. A deadline. A timer. Something.

For me, NaNo has been a wonderful tool. And that’s just exactly what it is, a tool. It’s meant to get people to sit up and just do it. Nowhere does it say, “Write 50k words and get your book published!” Nope. It plainly states that a lot of crap will be written. (Sorry, isn’t that what first drafts are?) It also plainly states that it’s largely for people like me, who’ve been afraid of following the dream and need an incentive to get busy with it.

Like me, most nano-ers know they have a long editing road ahead of them. But I’m doing it. And I have a deadline. My word count is posted, so I also have accountability. But it’s discouraging to see the constant references to drivel and quantity and what a waste it all is.

I’m typically a live and let choose kind of person. I’m pretty sure, though, that there is more than just one way to write a book. What works in one story won’t work in another. If there was only one right way to do it, I’d give up reading really quickly-it would be boring to read the same book over and over. I am me. I have to use whatever tools that are most effective for me. I will write in a way that is true to myself. If I wrote like you, I would be you. Not me.

For all the nay-sayers and poo-pooers out there, please allow that people come in all sorts of varieties. You may be driven and organized and very good at making and keeping a schedule and a pace. A real go getter and a self starter. Good for you, and I mean that sincerely. But please, don’t step on the rest of us who need some help getting started or staying the course. It’s just not nice. We’re not bugs.

Stop assuming that what’s being written is just pointless drivel and that we’re so stupid we can’t recognize the difference or that your way is the only way. It’s arrogant. And it makes an ass of you.

Don’t be knocking my tools. Sooner or later, you’re the one that will be feeing the kick. (Karma-it has other names in other places, but it’s still the same thing.)

For the record, sitting on my shelves, taking up space, are many books that were not written during nano, that I paid good money for, and are not even good enough to be considered drivel. They even came with hifalutin reviews, too.

Just sayin’…..


About CuriousCat

I love to learn new things-anything from how to create a junk journal to the way light moves through space; why cats present their behinds to us to the effects of chemicals on our endocrine system. If it interests me, I can spend hours reading and learning about it.

Posted on November 16, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. >The Nano naysayers don't worry me. They clearly don't get what it's about and don't want to and that's fine – they have their own way of doing things. Hey, maybe they just want controversy. Being devil's advocate can get you noticed.For me, Nano is the same kind of challenge that the London to Brighton bike ride was for my husband. (He's got a bit past doing it now.) Cycling 50 miles with a bloody great hill at the end didn't make him a professional cyclist but it did make him pleased with himself and a mite fitter.Nano won't make me a novelist but I will have risen to the challenge whether I succeed or not. And it may help me improve my writing – who knows?

  2. >You keep to your own writing tools and don't listen to anyone else. NaNo isn't for everyone (me) but those that think it's useless are the people who will never be published.You keep writing the way you want. Big things are headed your way.

  3. >hey b, quit reading the crap out there, you'll never get through it all…keep doing it your way… and recall what kris kristofferson told sinead o'connor, on stage: don't let the bastards grind you down!

  4. >I'm not doing NaNo, but I'm a cheerleader. To paraphrase: Don't let the 'bad guys' get you down.Go for it. Keep writing. You can edit garbage, but you can't edit a blank page.Write on!

  5. >Ten years? You stopped writing for ten years? DO NOT let that happen again! Too many "critics" among us who have absolutely no idea what constitutes writing in any form. I'm not familiar with NaNo ( I'm going to check it out) but, in my opinion, whatever works for you to put words onto paper–well, works for you. Best,Bonnie

  6. >This just made my entire morning!

  7. >Your writing history was like reading pages from my own life. So I totally understand what you mean about accountability. I am that solider. I need something to keep me on task. I am not participating in Nano. The commitment and fear of failing being my stumbling block. I keep telling myself next year. I admire everyone who commits to Nano. A big loud boisterous bualadh bos to you!!!

  8. >yeah, it takes multiple drafts, time off, stress, achievement, lots of cutting, rebuilding, more time and stress, and everything all over again, but it's all worth it if the project is seen through. it's a lot of work with a lot of naysayers and people who will quietly doubt you and never stop doubting. so take the support where you can find it, but ultimately every writer is on his or her own.

  9. >I don't like all those people who argue against NaNo, either . . . it doesn't affect them if someone has a good, satisfying time writing 50,000 words! And the crap can be revised into something much, much better. It's about the potential, not the raw thing.

  10. >I agree! NaNo gave me the incentive to finish a book I've been writing for two years. It gave me the deadline I needed. People have no right to be so judgy.

  11. >The best thing about NaNo is the spirit of it. It's a community of writers coming together and deciding that this month, they will each try to write a novel. What's not to love about that? Who cares if what's produced needs massive fixing? It's fun, and it's inspiring, and it creates a sense of fellowship. I'm not doing NaNo this year but I do love feeling the energy coming from everybody who is!

  12. >There will always be naysayers. That's the way they are. You are a writer, therefore you write. It's the way you are.

  13. >I just want to thank all of you for voicing your support. Whether you're participating or cheering, it means a lot when someone understands and accepts that different people require different tools. It got a bit discouraging to see comment after comment with only negative opinions about nano. For a couple days, I actually let it wiggle into my mind and I avoided writing. I caught myself wondering if I should even bother anymore. Then, I got angry. I decided I had allowed too many things to stop me in the past and I wasn't going to let the poo-pooers "grind me down" anymore. So, again, I thank you. Not just for me, but for all of us trying to follow the dream. You are the best!

  14. >I'm not doing NaNo. I am not disciplined enough. But I am cheering everyone out there on. This will help a lot of people get off the fence and on their computers.Don't listen to the nay sayers.

  15. >The nay sayers I've met in my life I believe were those cynics whose own efforts, or lack thereof, were met with disappointment..so they don't believe anyone else can (or should be able to) do it either.

  16. >*Pamela Jo-that's exactly what it has done for me and I appreciate your support!*Charlene-ooooooo! I think, that for some of them, you hit the nail on the head!

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