One of my favorite parts about National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short, or even NaNo) is how it brings writers together to form communities. I really wish we came together so organized outside of NaNo and many serious writers do. I also think writing groups should be more vocal to attract newer writers who don’t know they exist. My little rant about writing communities aside, I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about speed and competition.
Because writers are talking a lot right now, writing process often comes up. I’m a fairly slow writer compared to many people and I find I often have a problem with that because I have a tiny voice in my head that is extremely competitive. I first noticed this in the summer when I was partaking in Camp NaNoWriMo. During Camp NaNoWriMo, I like participating in online write along livestreams because I like connecting with other writers.
While I was participating in the live stream there was a moment when the administrators asked people to send in their word counts. I really loved listening to all the awesome word counts that were coming in. So many people had written so much in a short amount of time. They were really excited to be writing and I loved participating in it. Then I read some more comments and the feelings started.
I kept seeing all these people saying “only 300 words in ten minutes” or something else along those lines. That’s when I found myself looking at my neat 170 and feeling inadequate. I felt like I had failed as a writer. Shouldn’t I be able to at least keep up? As if being fast equaled being good. I was placing my worth on how fast my fingers can type out letters.
But here’s the truth about writing, everyone has a different speed. Authors don’t even have one speed, maybe they’re in a good place and are writing really fast, or maybe they’re stuck and need to take a minute to just think. Some people will finish NaNo really fast and some won’t (like me last year) and will be writing their books for almost another year. But fast does not equal good.
A mix of passion and skill equals good. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re writing if you’re not writing well. There is an amount that you can be bad at writing because NaNo does want you to fast draft and then go back and edit later. All you have to do is write something good enough that you can edit it later.
The biggest thing is to not get discouraged by what other people are doing. I do encourage you to connect with other writers in the NaNo community, but you can sit out of stuff if it makes you feel inadequate. Or you can do what I do and tell yourself that no matter what other people do, it doesn’t make you worth any less.
I think that that’s a good motto for life in general. Your worth is made by you and not others. That means you can own it, define it, and redefine it however you want. All you have to be is confident enough to follow through.
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Hey everyone! I’m paritcipating in NaNoWriMo this year. You can check out my Twitter or Instagram for updates. You can also subscribe to my blog via email at the top of the sidebar for updates when I post or like my Facebook page.