This is why I will never participate in NaNoWriMo.
A few months back I got an email from a lady who was in charge of the advertising for a local home and garden show. She’d gotten my name from the editor of my local paper, who I’ve written for before. She needed a writer for some twelve to fifteen articles for a special tab on the show’s vendors that would appear in the paper just prior to the event.
Of course I said yes.
In the following weeks she gave me four names. I began making phone calls, trying to set up interviews and schedule photo shoots. I accomplished these and still hadn’t heard from her about the rest of the vendors. I assumed I would have plenty of time.
I was wrong.
About ten days after I received the first batch, I received four more names, and a week after that, she sent me seven more. It was now Monday, April 8, and this was the first time I heard word of my deadline: April 19.
April 19? That was only a week and a half away. The home show wasn’t until the weekend of May 3rd, and the articles were to go to press on the 29th. So why . . . ?
What non-journalists don’t realize is that it takes time to set up and complete interviews. It’d be one thing if I’d been asked to research and write fifteen articles on given topics at my leisure. But when you’re trying to connect with busy professionals—either in person or even just over the phone—suddenly the amount of work that goes into an article jumps to a whole new level.
Thankfully, I managed to get the deadline pushed to 9 a.m. today, April 22. I completed my final interview last Wednesday, but onI still had to write.
Good for you. I cannot. (Blog posts or opinion essays, maybe. But a news article?)
Writing a goodis a lot harder than readers think. There are all these details to be included, and rules to follow, and the hope to make your article interesting and flow so that readers will keep reading. A 600-word article can easily take me two to three hours, and longer if I’m tired. Easily.
Yesterday I wrote 2,426 words. (My total weekend word count was 3,639.) I was at my computer for more than twelve hours. I pulled an all-nighter to meet my deadline. (My last articles were coming much more slowly than the first.) It was hell.
But I wrote some damn good articles.
But that’s just it. Good writing doesn’t come from the sky. Brevity, word imagery, flow, depth—these things take time. I’ve never written a novel, but my rock-climbing story isn’t far from what I’d imagine my novel would look like if ever I did. Those rock-climbing posts took hours. I edited and edited and edited them, as I do all of my writing. That’s what good writing is all about.
NaNoWriMo encourages writers to write more than 1,000 words per day for a month. The idea is to create a 50,000+ word novel from start to finish during that time. And I think the whole thing is a load of crap. If you want to write a crappy novel, go ahead. Or if your idea is to write a novel in a month and then spend the next six months editing it, that’s fine, too. But anyone who expects to write the next “Pride and Prejudice” or “Lord of the Rings” in one month is kidding themselves . . .” or “
And, personally, I’d rather not stress myself out trying.
The time I spent on those articles was worth it. And the months and years I’d spend working on a novel would be, too.
But maybe that’s just me.
Note: If I haven’t been as active on WordPress lately, you now know why. I have many thoughts to share about all kinds of things relating to previous posts, as well as to current events like Boston. Hopefully I’ll now be able to do so and to check in with your sites, too! Thank you, all of you, for sticking with me.
- nanonano (jesscy.com)
- freelance fun (jesscy.com)
- how to not die: the fall (jesscy.com)
- how to not die: the rescue (jesscy.com)
- how to not die: the i.c.u. (jesscy.com)