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On NaNoWriMo

November 11, 2009

I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year.  I did it in 2001, I finished my 60k, and I moved on to other projects.  It’s something I approve of whenever someone says they’re trying it, but it’s not something I see a clear need to repeat.  In this respect it’s a bit like grad school.

There are other similarities.  The purpose of grad school is only partially to teach you about a field in depth.  It’s also a way of determining whether you want to do the specific activities associated with that field every working day of your life.   If you get sick of doing something in grad school, it probably means you should get out before you’re expected to do it all the time.

NaNoWriMo makes you write, a lot, pretty much every day for a month.  If you are sick of writing by the time you’re done, you aren’t going to enjoy the life of a writer, even if you got those 50k words down in time.  If you can’t fit the writing time into your existing schedule, or can’t negotiate with your spouse about when you can write, those are danger signs too.

I’m not saying you need to average 1600+ words a day forever to be a writer.   Nor is working in a field the same as grad school.  But they’re tests of your dedication as much as they are tests of your aptitude.

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