on nnwm and ‘cheating’

So Stella commented in the comments that she was going to pick up a WIP for her NNWM attempt, and I know BangBang is doing the same, and so I thought I’d post here something I posted on the NNWM forums.

I fully intend to finish a novel I’m already working on, for NNWM. Last year I ‘cheated’, which is to say I woke up in the middle of the night on October 1st with the first paragraph of my NNWM novel in my head. I got up and wrote it, and then the next 1800 words, because what I’ve learned as a writer is if I don’t get it down right now, I’ll lose it. I suspect this would make many people want to take my head.

To make up for it, more or less, I didn’t begin writing until the 2nd of November. I did write more than 50,000 words in the month of November, but didn’t finish the novel itself until the 7th of December. I was not about to stop my story at the point I was at, or wrap it up in some fashion, just for the glory of ‘finishing’ the novel in 30 days.

Now. Apparently by all accounts this makes me a cheater and not a winner, and, er, well, I can live with that. But part of my perspective on what NNWM is for is to get people who have always wanted to write off their butts and to encourage them to write. I think for to that end, the prospect of beginning, middling, and ending an entire novel in the month of November is fantastic. I think anything that encourages people to write should itself be encouraged.

I’m not, though, somebody who has always wanted to write, without actually doing it. My last year’s NNWM novel was my 5th novel; the one that I’ve got in progress right now is my 7th. I don’t actually need the impetus of NNWM to push me through the hurrah of writing a book, but I do very much like the community of it. With my WiP, I’ve been farting around on it for a few months and to me, the basic object of NNWM — write 50K in 30 days, surrounded by people who are suffering similarly — is just the inspiration I’d like at the moment. I’d finish the book anyway; I have to. But if I can pound those 50,000 words out as part of a community, well, that’s cool.

So why don’t I start a new book for November? Because I’ve *got* this one in progress. If I’d finished it before now, I might’ve moved on to a new one, but at this juncture it’s much more important for me as a writer to finish what I’m working on. And to me, while it’s not strictly following the NNWM rules, it honors the spirit of the thing.

So that’s my two cents on the whole thing. :)

2 thoughts on “on nnwm and ‘cheating’

  1. The NaNoWriMoNinJa will be along to punish you for your impudence!

    Err, I mean, congratulations! And best wishes.

  2. This is part of why I don’t want to actually sign-up for NaNoWriMo. I like it as the concept of getting people to write, who normally don’t. But I don’t think anyone should be saying ‘Cheater!’ if you write something before or after the month.

    Fie on them. Writing is good! Who cares when you write?

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