ASK AUNTIE MJ: WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Dear Aunty MJ, it seems as though there is a certain amount of pressure to edit and rewrite ‘finished’ NaNoWriMo novels, is there anything wrong with just writing for the fun of it?

Dear erraticartist, 

Your question fills Auntie MJ with joy and she happily provides the answer: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. In fact, there is everything RIGHT about that. To write for fun … that’s healthy and quite excellent INDEED.

There is a lot of talk about how the NaNoWriMo books must be rewritten and edited extensively after completion … but this is usually because people ask, “How do I publish my novel?” And that is how you publish a novel. You finish it, and finishing it means rewriting it.

But there is every reason to do NaNoWriMo because writing is GOOD and joyful. Because it allows you to express things you want to express. It’s okay to do it as a game. In fact, it’s great! It is perhaps the BEST reason to do NaNo. It’s really best under ALL conditions to write a book just because you want to. There is no other reason to do it. If you want to write books for money and fame* then you perhaps are barking up the wrong cellphone tower.** There is precious little money or fame to be found in the business. And books written for money and fame tend to feel like books written for money and fame. They have a hollow ring and an empty center.

There is a certain obviousness to books written for money and fame.

Write what you want. Do it for yourself, and if you feel like it, the entertainment of your friends. And if you are one of those people who wants to take it to the next level, then fine. But that first level is a good and beautiful place. And it is the place many people who write for a living try to return to when the deadlines come and the business part starts to feel weird.

So DO YOUR THING, my friend. 

With adoration,

Auntie MJ

* Tagline stolen from my friend Scott Westerfeld. And he’s joking, FYI. TO MAKE THIS VERY POINT.

** I’ve never seen a dog bark up a tree. But I do see a lot of those cellphone towers made to look like trees, except they look NOTHING LIKE TREES. I just wanted to bring them to the public’s attention. WE KNOW THEY ARE NOT TREES. STOP TRYING TO FOOL US, BIG TELECOMMUNICATIONS!