Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Length

I wasn’t going to do Nanowrimo this year but I seem to feel the need for a bigger project at the moment. National Novel Writing Month, when people all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words during the month of November, is a useful way of getting a draft down on paper. My way of doing it is to divide the words up by the number of working days so that I generally aim to write 2000 words a day. This is surprisingly easy given that I’m not looking at all at the quality, just the quantity. It can be very freeing just to let rip without worrying, and on a good day I can just rattle the words off and sit back with the glow of a job that is at least done, if not done well.

The problem comes with the editing. How do you begin to edit such a pile of garbage? It would be like trying to sift through a landfill site – which some day people will have to start doing because we can’t keep on throwing stuff away like this. So I think this time I’m going to think a little bit about the quality as well and try to write 2000 reasonable words rather than just 2000 words that come to me on the spur of the moment.

There is of course any amount of paraphernalia associated with Nano: mugs, t-shirts, pens, books, certificates and of course the inevitable Facebook group. I don’t know if I’ll check in with the group much this year, because it seems to be full of people bemoaning the fact that they are behind, or else sprinters who write 75,000 words in their first week and are aiming for 200,000. Why? What will they do with all that verbiage? Is any of it good? It makes me feel tired just thinking about it. Not to mention the fact that they all seem to be writing SF or fantasy. Still, it’s an achievement to write 50,000 words in a month and I salute all who try.

Kirk out

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