Monday, November 22, 2010

Write It Anyway

Hey, all.  I'm writing today with a pretty specific purpose, for once.  As you know, because I mention it every time I start a new sentence here on Proof of Theft, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year.  I'm doing pretty well, I'm about a day ahead of where I'm supposed to be, and I'm going to get done right on time, good for me, etc. etc.  One of my friends spoke to me the other day about how she saw an article blasting NaNoWriMo, the whole institution, because their motto is 'quantity over quality' and it gives the go ahead to writers who aren't very good thinking that they can write a novel in a month and call themselves 'novelists'.  I wrote a novel in a month, and I consider myself a novelist (see also my two other books), but I'm also writing my NaNo story with a very clear view of how I'm going to edit it later, make it better, maybe hope to get it published, so I can see where the article is coming from, and also where my friend is coming from.  I think it's a great way to get people to write, but I also think it cheapens the real writers who do this every month, all year, every year.  To be blunt, I think that many NaNo writers are hobbyists.  They write for one month out of the year and think that that's all it takes to be a writer.

I disagree with this.  It doesn't have to be that way, and I feel like we're cheapening the work of writers just to make a bunch of amateurs feel better about themselves.  If you want to be a writer, don't wait for an event.  Write.  I've been on the NaNoWriMo forums and keep seeing threads about how they can't make it, how life is getting in the way, how they don't like their stories anymore, but if you want to be a writer you must write.  You must write!  If you think your story is crap, write it anyway.  If you're discouraged with your progress, write anyway.  If you just 'don't feel' like writing, write anyway.  Write anyway!  I will not be nearly as upset at these people if they just stopped complaining.  I'm lazy, I'm unmotivated, I just can't do it or don't want to.  I think my story is crap, I don't know what my main characters are doing, and it makes me just want to scream.  Write anyway!  What, do you think that real novelists always feel like they're writing brilliant prose and flowery scenes?  No!  Of course not!  Writing is a deeply personal art, you're baring a little bit more of your soul with every sentence, and not all of it can be good, not all of it can work.  That's what drafts are for.  If you're upset with what you're writing, write it anyway!  If you're taking it in a different direction than you expected, run with it!  Write it anyway, and if it sucks when you go back later and read it, then you can change it.  Writing can always be changed!  Argh. 

If you're out there, comment, please.  If you read this, and it made you feel anything, comment.  I know that I'm not really a credible source for these kinds of things, but I've worked very hard for the privilege to call myself a writer, a novelist.  I write every day, I average over 10,000 words a week and that number doesn't include homework, blog posts, edits, or other writing.  I've been doing this for over a year, now, and I haven't slowed down, I haven't stopped.  I have at least six other books that need to be written just off the top of my head, lots of short stories, and believe you me when I say that I will write them.  I feel very strongly about this, about writing, and about being a writer.  If you're out there, and you feel strongly, too, stop and say something.  I hope everyone is having a great Monday, see you tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. "For writing a first draft requires from the writer a peculiar internal state which ordinary life does not induce. If you were a Zulu warrior banging on your shield with your spear for a couple of hours with a hundred other Zulu warriors, you might be able to prepare yourself to write,"

    Or even better, "I do not write a book as sit up with it, like a dying friend. During visiting hours. I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better."

    From "The Writing Life," by Annie Dillard