To the chagrin of the literati, National Novel Writing Month and its ilk can indeed spark great work.
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
Every November, thousands of people around the country stop everything they’re doing, sit down with a notepad or some kind of keyboard, and start furiously writing. Racing to pump out a 50,000-word story within the month (about 1,667 words a day), these manic typists aren’t doing this for cash or any kind of direct compensation. They’re doing it because November is National Novel Writing Month, a competition urging would-be writers to overcome their doubts and fears and just write a whole book. Some in the literary world see the competition, which originally put no emphasis on editing, as a scourge, regularly churning out self-indulgent pulp. In truth, quite a few successful books have come out of NaNoWriMo (as it’s often shortened). More importantly it encourages people to actually do what they love and brings literature back to a popular, accessible, and relatable level for all of us.