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Why National Novel Writing Month is a waste of time and energy

Laura Miller at Salon argues that NaNoWriMo is a colossal waste of resources, plus advocates for readers as the source of hope for our future:

Frankly, there are already more than enough novels out there — more than those of us who still read novels could ever get around to poking our noses into, even when it’s our job to do so…Furthermore, I know that there are still undiscovered or unpublished authors out there whose work I will love if I ever manage to find it. But I’m confident those novels would still get written even if NaNoWriMo should vanish from the earth. Yet while there’s no shortage of good novels out there, there is a shortage of readers for these books. Even authors who achieve what probably seems like Nirvana to the average NaNoWriMo participant — publication by a major house — will, for the most part, soon learn this dispiriting truth: Hardly anyone will read their books and next to no one will buy them.

  • I don't know why a writer would discourage people from writing. It's like a gym nut telling people to never work out. Exercise. Practice. Find your voice. Learn about yourself, and think about writing in a whole new way.

  • I honestly don't believe that the majority of people who participate in NaNoWriMo are there specifically to get their work published. Writing can be a great tool in understanding one's self, and opening up your mind to places you have never been.

  • Miller seems awfully grumpy. I suppose I understand why a book editor might be irritated by an onslaught of poorly written novels, but otherwise I don't really get her hatred. There are all sorts of reasons to get into NaNoWriMo besides annoying book editors, just like not everyone running a marathon is in it to win. And while I enthusiastically agree that more reading would be a good thing for this world, I can't get behind her "sit down, shut up" attitude. Does she also discourage art museum patrons from going home and painting on their own, or foodies from exploring Julia Child's cookbooks?

    She insists that "real" writers would get their writing done even without NaNoWriMo, and that might be true. But if a month of cheerleading helps make writing easier or more enjoyable for some, what's wrong with that? Perhaps a better solution than getting rid of NaNoWriMo altogether, would be to follow NaNoWriMo with NaNoEdMo– National Novel Editing Month. 😉

  • What a terrible point of view. And from someone who doesn't even write books, no less! There are plenty of movies out there, should we stop making them so everyone can catch up on what they missed?
    Fuck this noise. I participate in NaNoWriMo because its fun, and there's an entire community behind it, and it spurs a lot of creativity. I'll never send in the results for publication, but some ideas left over have spurred those that HAVE been published. This is clearly some idiot trying to rain on others parade. I'm kinda sad Dave even posted this. Without any context, we don't get his thoughts, when its his thoughts. I really hope he doesn't agree with this sourpuss.

  • Ashley M

    I actually hate it. I don't care about it and then its here gawking and the like when it's starting/starts/is well over with. It's supposed to be "fun" sure but like most fun, aside from fun itself it's a waste of time.

  • I agree with most of the people here.

    "aside from fun itself it's a waste of time"
    It's not a waste of time, but you could make the above case for almost any recreational activity.