Much as I hate to admit it, I probably won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I want to, but I've got something a little more pressing on my plate, and its name is Flight of the Vajra.
A shame, too, because I had a great idea for a possible NNWM entry this year. What I wanted to do was wrap my first-draft work on Vajra, then work on this new (as-yet-untitled) project during Novemeber, then break and return to Vajra.
Now I'm finding that interrupting the kind of momentum I have under way is a bad, bad, bad idea. I've done it before, with the end result being a project that ended up rusting on the side of the road with no tow truck in sight. If I'm on a hot streak, the last thing I want to do is throw water on it with the excuse that I'm going to light a whole new fire elsewhere. (Note to self: This never works.)
I'm also bracing for the inevitable flood of snooty essays from writers about why NaNoWriMo is the literary equivalent of littering. All of the tired old arguments get dragged to the curb like so much trash waiting to be hauled away: That's Not Writing That's Typing, We Need Less Writers Not More, If You Were A Real Writer You'd ____ Instead Of Participating In Silly Exercises Like This, et any number of nitwit ceteras. They're as bad as the "turn off your TV if you want to get some real writing done" crowd, which deserves to be torn down in its own post. (One imbecility at a time.)
I understand, sometimes to my own detriment, the idea that if we have to choose, we're better off asking for fewer but better writers instead of just more, period. Crack the shell around that notion, though, and what flows out is ideological mush. Better writers do not come out of a vacuum. More writers means more chances to produce the better writers you wanted in the first place, all other things being equal. The more excuses you give people to pick up a pencil, to produce something they can feel proud about, to become comfortable with the idea of expressing themselves (and later on, also comfortable refining their work with constructive criticism), the more you'll have the better writers you wanted in the first place.
Given how indefenisbly thin those above arguments are, I can't see them as being anything but existing authors protecting their turf against encroachments by the likes of All Those Kids. I'd rather have the "dross" produced by something like NNWM than the nose-flips of authors who can't be bothered to see past their own gated gardens. At least the dross-makers can learn from their mistakes.
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Other Lives Of The Mind