The cult of Nanowrimo


November is just around the corner. For those of you who know about such things, that means NANOWRIMO (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) is looming ahead like a massive, brain-sucking zombie.

The closer we get to November, more and more Facebook statuses, tweets, and blogs will appear extolling the virtues of participating in NANOWRIMO. They’ll tell you things like how wonderful the event is for all writers, not just the participants. They’ll talk it up like it’s the greatest thing since the invention of the movable type. And failing to get you all psyched up and ready to participate, they’ll then guilt you into wanting to do it.

They’ll talk of camaraderie, friendship, and mutual support. They’ll talk about what a rush it is as you strive to write 50,000 words in 30 days and how all the enthusiasm of thousands of fellow writers will carry you along to the finish.

Have excuses? They’ll squelch them. Think November is a lousy month to write in because of Thanksgiving? They’ll tell you that’s just an excuse because December has Christmas and January has New Year’s and then on and on.

I don’t have anything against anyone who wants to compete in NANOWRIMO. Go for it if that’s what you want to do. Join in the fun and companionship.

But don’t keep telling me I need to join in. I tried NANO, I wanted to feel a part of it, to be one with my fellow writers, but I failed. I can’t write that much in one month.

And now, because I can’t do it, instead of feeling as one with my fellow writers, I feel like a goddammed outcast. “Hey, look at all the fun we’re having while you’re not! NANO NANO boo boo!”

Now, having failed and become an outsider, I view the whole NANOWRIMO experience as a cult, shaming you, brainwashing you to be a part of it.

To me, NANOWRIMO is no different than those nuisance religious folks who feel it necessary to tell you how crappy your life is without God and that you need to accept Jesus into your heart or you’ll burn in Hell. NANOWRIMO is a lot like that except it is writers running around telling you how wonderful participation is in this month-long marathon of writing.

I’m sorry, but it’s annoying. I tried it. Twice. Managed all of 17k words total between the two attempts. I have no interest in it, no intention of participating in it ever again.

And yet, maybe just this once more. Maybe I’ll try it again. Maybe this time things will be different. Maybe this time, I’ll finish. Maybe this time, I’ll be loved and accepted and everyone will be my friend.

Of course, I’ll need a new notebook. And… and ink for my fountain pen. And… and… crap. Here we go again. *runs over to the website to register* I’m baa-aack!

NOTE: I’ve had it pointed out that calling NANOWRIMO a cult is somewhat harsh. I apologize to any of my writer friends who took it personally. Please blame it on politics and the fact that I’m sitting at home with nothing to do until Congress gets off it’s collective ass and passes a budget so I can go back to work. Because of that, I’m crankier than usual.



2 thoughts on “The cult of Nanowrimo

  1. This will be my forth year, and the most I have ever managed is 17,000. But that was last year, which beat the total on the previous and the year before that I’d written even less. So all in all I’m going to say that despite not hitting that 50,000 word mark, I did have fun and I did manage to motivate myself towards writing more than I have been. You never now. This year I might manage 25,000 words and though I won’t have hit the mark I’ll still have a but load of writing to work on until next November.
    So bah if you’re an outsider. You’ve got me a a fair few others to keep you company.

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