Should you NANO?

I  just got this question on Twitter.

 People are telling me I shouldn’t do NaNoWriMo because it’s a waste of time and publishers hate it. Thoughts? Advice?

Here is my answer, in a few parts.

1. You should do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) if you want to get some writing work in and you like the idea and the structure. I think it’s a great thing to really push you into a good, healthy writing habit and get you over some of the insecurities that can come with the idea of writing that many words. In short, do it if you want to! 

2. Because, what does publishing really have to do with it? Unless you’re telling me that you want to write 50,000 words in November and IMMEDIATELY SUBMIT THOSE WORDS to a prospective agent, because no, I would not do that. Why not?

3. Because you aren’t DONE. I have heard that some agents and editors get a whole bunch of submissions right after NaNoWriMo from people who think a first draft is READY TO GO.* So just don’t do that. No one cares HOW a work is written or WHEN or WHERE. They just care about how good it is. NaNoWriMo is a great process, a great tool to HELP you get going. You are unlikely to FINISH the whole thing. You will need to revise, and that can take A LONG TIME. Writing is rewriting, as they say.

So if it appeals to you, GO FOR IT. NaNoWriMo isn’t about publishing. It’s about writing. 

*Although, I just asked my agent, @DaphneUn, about this, and she said that the number had gone way down. She suspects that maybe people are realizing that those NaNo drafts need more work.