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NoNoNoNo – Why I hate NaNoWriMo

NoNoNoNo – Why I hate NaNoWriMo

There are so many things to be wary of. Here are few of the things I worry about!

The Event

Weren’t you writing anyway? What’s the fuss about one month? Write every month, damn it!

The Goal

Tell me again, what are you writing? A complete novel? I mean, really?

If you search carefully through the NaNoWriMo website, you’ll find where it says a first draft of 50,000 words. Mostly, it talks enthusiastically about writing a complete novel.

That’s misleading–because you can’t write a novel in a month.

If you could, you’d be a prolific–probably romance–author with a large pool and servants.

Those people are aliens, you’re not.

The Truth

It takes a lot to write a novel. Most of it is rewriting, changing stuff, rewriting, realizing your mistakes, rewriting, noticing something so damned obvious it throws you into depression, rewriting, checking consistency, rewriting, persuading your early readers to answer your texts, rewriting, changing the sex of your main character, rewriting, adding back the murder or the zombie invasion you just took out, rewriting, stuffing the damn printout into a drawer, opening the drawer, rewriting. Finally, realizing you are finally so sick of it, it must be finished. At the very least.

I would give credit to the NaNoWriMo website for admitting this, but it’s buried on the “Now What?” page.

The Actuality

It takes a lot less effort to write the first draft of a novel. You might be able to do that in a month.

You do remember Anne Lamott telling you what you have is called “the SHITTY first draft,” don’t you? It’s called that for a reason. It sucks. It’s not the finished novel. It’s something else.

Calling this month ShiFirDraWriMo would be more honest, wouldn’t it?

I call for truth in abbreviations; it avoids unrealistic expectations.

The Warning

Which brings me to say do not publish what you write in November. It sucks, remember? It’s not a novel. It’s something else. Readers will be delighted to wait until you have done the rest of the work on it. Readers deserve the respect shown them by authors who complete what they start. Don’t throw it at them unfinished!

The Timing

And November? You’ve got to be kidding me!

There’s f***king Thanksgiving in it!

Last year, you said to your spouse/whatever, “Umm…Sweetie, I can’t help with Thanksgiving this year, I’m writing a novel.”
Still together? Thought not.

Oh, wait…are you reading all this while sitting in your parent’s basement? Okay, no problem. Go to YesYesYesYes. At least you have the free time.

I hate NaNoWriMo!

I’d love your comments, but please read both sides first. I believe them both.

[Photo credit: Nonsap Visuals]

YesYesYesYes – Why I love NaNoWriMo

YesYesYesYes – Why I love NaNoWriMo

There are so many reasons to recommend NaNoWriMo. Here are few of the things I appreciate!


The month long event gives you a start date, an end date, and a daily output goal.

That means STRUCTURE! We creative types need structure. We are, by nature, all over the place. If only we could have that discipline the rest of the year.

Perhaps learning how to apply ourselves every day to our writing for one month can teach us how to keep doing it in the months that follow.


For one month, you are no longer the lonely writer in the attic or basement. We Are Team November!

Our library is holding regular get-togethers of NaNoWriMo authors: for writing together or boasting together or commiserating together. It doesn’t really matter which; it’s good to be with fellow travelers.


At the start of December there will be words where there were none before. Never underestimate the importance of actually writing words. Without those an author has a hard time justifying the title. You will have words you can build on–words worth editing, polishing, rewriting, crafting, molding, into a finished product


In the worst case, when you achieve no goals, start late, or finish early, there will be ideas that weren’t there before. You might find at the end of the month, you’ve just taken the first steps into what will be years of work, all stemming from a few new ideas.


You did it, or part of it.  Whatever, you get the accolades, because YOU did it.

You wrote; you rock!
I love NaNoWriMo!



But wait! NoNoNoNo – Why I hate NaNoWriMo

I’d love your comments, but please read both sides first. I believe them both.

[Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash]

NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month.

Yes and no!
I’m conflicted.

A lot of people get great results from taking part in National Novel Writing Month. Other folks recoil in horror at the mention of it.

I’ve managed to collect my thoughts on why NaNoWriMo is such a brilliant idea, here at YesYesYesYes – Why I love NaNoWriMo

I’ve also collected my thoughts on why it’s a really, really bad idea, here at NoNoNoNo – Why I hate NaNoWriMo

Help me decide, won’t you?



Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

A great British tradition takes place in early September each year (Wakes Monday).

Sir Benjamin Stone’s Pictures – Festivals, Ceremonies and Customs. Published by Cassell & Co. London. 1906, Public Domain

In the village of Abbots Bromley in Staffordshire a team dance the Horn Dance.

There are six dancers, a musician, a Maid Marion figure (played by a man),  a Hobby Horse, the Fool, a boy with a bow and arrow, and another with a triangle. In ancient times, the dancers were all male, but recently girls have taken the triangle and bow and arrow roles.

The horns are actually reindeer antlers dated to around 1065, a time when no reindeer lived in England.

The dance moves are related to Morris dancing, and similar dances from Europe and Africa.

It boggles my mind, as a writer, how limited my imagination is.
I couldn’t make this stuff up.

More here, of course, Wikipedia

D-Day Memoirs

This article originally appeared on in June 2014.
Here, I’ll add a couple of contemporary photos.
D-Day  Memoirs Lost

As the troops and equipment, the boats and barges gathered for the D-Day landings, my father was watching.

He served in the Royal Air Force—on a boat.

Let me explain. The RAF ran a fleet of fast motor launches based in the English Channel ports. Called “Air Sea Rescue,” their mission was to get to planes that ditched into the Channel before the airmen drowned.

These launches played a small role in the war effort, but for the men they pulled out of the sea there was nothing small about it.

My father was stationed at Deal, near Dover, the center of activity for the assembly of the invasion forces.

After those momentous events he wrote an account of being an observer to history. Of course, all that activity at the time was secret. But my father guessed. So much ordnance, so many tanks, so many jeeps, so many Americans. Something BIG was up.

He told me he was quite pleased how his account of those days turned out. My father was a modest man, so I feel sure it was well-written.

He showed it to an RAF superior, who said he would read it and pass it on to the RAF’s publishing arm. Then this man took my father’s account and published it as his own work.

Such things, of course, still happen to authors today. My father never wrote anything else about the war.

I wish I could say I inherited a box of notes for a memoir when he died, or a draft of his service story. Or…anything. What I have are just my memories of stories he told.

If you are luckier than I and have such a written treasure, treat it with the respect it deserves. Please, never fall to the temptation of typing it into Word and throwing out the paper. One defective hard-drive and all is lost, unless you back up regularly 😉 You have to keep the originals. As you type, you’ll edit, omit, correct. You might make mistakes. Don’t run the risk of losing something essential. Keep it! Keep it! Keep it!

Then wrap it all up. Keep it secure and free from damp.
Oh, and definitely put it into publishable format.

But who’d be interested in all that?
I will tell you.

I was at our local Memorial Day parade, watching the Revolutionary War re-enactors, the Civil War re-enactors, the foreign war enthusiasts, the World War II veterans, their children and grandchildren. People hungry for the truth, the personal accounts full of small details that resonate with every generation. Many people consider it a sacred duty to preserve the memories fast fading and passing away.

Major publishing houses will continue to produce worthy books based on the lives of the famous and influential. Independent publishers need to publish the other accounts: the ordinary, the lowly, the stories of the real G.I Joes (or Tommies).

Thomas Charlton Snr. 1920-2012

If I could publish my father’s memoir, I wouldn’t care that I couldn’t make a business case for it. Would it sell more than the average independently published book? Would I get a good return on investment?

That sort of thinking about books really misses the point, doesn’t it?