I hate NaNoWriMo. To me, National Novel Writing Month is the writer’s version of a hot dog eating contest. It’s entertaining for a bit, but mostly it’s nauseating.
My main problem with it is that it encourages writers to focus on pages written, rather than on time spent. How many times have you agonized over not meeting a certain page quota? It’s much more sustainable to spend time with your craft a little each month, for all 12 months, than to do an unsustainable amount of work for a single month.
Your page count has little to do with your status as a writer. You don’t get a Writer’s Guild membership once you cross the hundred-page threshold.
Here’s the difference between writers and non-writers: writers write. And they keep writing. Eventually, they die.
That’s it. That’s the secret sauce. No matter how lousy or how minimal your output, if you haven’t given up, you’re still a writer.
This goes for all creators. Whether you’re a writer or photographer or whatever, if you want to be good, find a way to keep yourself from quitting. Because it takes a little time to be okay, but it’s going to take a long time be great.
There’s this saying by Confucius that is tattooed on my memory: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
It took me writing every week for 2 years in my writing program to really get the practical importance of that quote. But it’s not necessary to go off to college to learn how to do this.
All you do is write a sentence.
Tomorrow, you write another.
It doesn’t matter how much. It only matters that you’re back.
Today, write a sentence. Tomorrow, write another.
There you have it. You’re a writer.