>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.