A Nanowrimo Veteran’s WTF Moment

by syaffolee

Warning: Grumpy old Wrimo rant ahead.

Through Twitter, someone I follow posted a link to someone else’s weblog.  The blogger is some sort of self-proclaimed networker/marketer type* who has decided to do Nanowrimo this year.  But this blogger has posted a guide to Nanowrimo even though she has never done Nanowrimo before.

What. The. Hell.

I have posted before about my irritation with people who seek to instruct others when they themselves have no experience.  If someone who counted beans for a living suddenly declared that he has written the ultimate bread baking recipe, would you listen to him?  Would you listen to him if the closest he has ever gotten to an oven was to nuke a TV dinner in the microwave?  This case is no different.  If this blogger had just packaged her advice as writing tips in general, I would have no problem with it.  But if you have never written a novel in one month before, do not assume that whatever you say will be golden for this particular experience.  Because what if the unthinkable happens–that you (gasp) do not write 50,000 words in 30 days on your first try?  While I believe that everyone who participates in Nanowrimo will get something out of it regardless of whether or not they make the goal, there’s just something not quite right about someone who has failed–or even worse never tried–attempting to speak from a position of knowledge.**

To add insult to injury, the blogger implores her readers to follow her own special Twitter hashtag for Nanowrimo rather than the already established #nanowrimo.

What really gets me are the blog’s comments.*** Wonderful! the commenters exclaim.  I’ve been trying to find something like this! Even people who are veteran wrimos are enthusiastic about the guide.  And the blogger herself is coy with this praise, Aw shucks, I tried looking in Google and couldn’t find anything so I made this.

You tried looking in Google and didn’t find anything?!  Are you living in 1970 and completely internet illiterate?  Anyone with a speck of common sense would go straight to the Nanowrimo website where there are tons of information, ready at the click of a mouse button. There are also other writers, professional writers even, who’ve done Nanowrimo multiple times and have written guides.  Some of these guides are even online.  Chris Baty, the founder of Nanowrimo, has written No Plot?  No Problem! as a guide to writing a novel in a month.  And if Baty doesn’t know anything about Nanowrimo, then nobody does.

This year will be my tenth year participating in Nanowrimo. This, however, does not mean that I know anything about writing a novel in a month.  Every year, the situation is different.  And every year, I feel like I have something to learn with the effort.  There is always something to learn.  I know no one gives a damn if I have any advice.****  This is fine with me as I feel more comfortable rambling about my own progress or cheerleading others as a municipal liaison.  But I cannot stand it when someone who has never done Nanowrimo before purports to have the wisdom to winning this challenge. It has the effect of rendering the experiences of everyone who has participated completely moot.

*Yeah, yeah, yeah.  That should have raised a red flag in the first place.
**This probably describes about 99.9999% of the pundits in the blogosphere.
***Paraphrased for dramatic effect.
****My advice would probably be crap anyway since everyone has their own method for writing.