Yes it’s that time of year where Twitter is all aflutter with talk of moustaches and novels. The nights have finished drawing in and the drunken abandon of Hallowe’en has passed into the forgotten annals of Facebook albums to be ignored until next year.
Winter’s here and it’s a time for soup, fires, books and growing a moustache and forgetting to do it for charity (yeah, you’re supposed to get yourself sponsored, you unbearable poseur). Winter’s also a time of reflection when we look back and realise that we’ve done nothing to inspire or improve the world. You know, that feeling that everyone gets where they want to make the world a better place by forcing their insufferable platitudes upon an uninterested populace?
Well, most people.
It’s an old clich? that everyone has “one novel in them” and the NaNoWriMo scheme does its best to prove the point by having a set month for people to blurt out whatever nonsense is lolling around in their brains, having a proverbial mud-wrestle with smutty jokes and opinions on X Factor contestants. NaNoWriMo is a bit like school.
People need structure to create their best work and signing up for NaNoWriMo gives it to you, whether you like it or not. You have thirty days to write a novel. Easy as that, right? Everyone’s been planning their great page-turner since the last National Novel Writing Month ended.
Actually, no-one has.
What does signing up for the scheme get you? Well, you can meet up with like-minded people who are also trying to write the next great novel within the confines of thirty days. What qualifies these kindred spirits to do this? Why, they have laptops and Starbucks loyalty cards! You can get uppity about that if you want but their “coat of arms” leaves that heavy implication.
The National Novel Writing Month website claims that you, yes YOU, can write a novel in a month. C’mon! It’s easy! Anyone can do it! It doesn’t even have to be good! Just give us some money! What? Of course it’s for char- oh… servers are charity, right?
Look, let’s face facts. If you want to write a novel, you don’t have to sign up to do it in a month, try to cram as much into it as possible and wail about it on twitter so that people think you’re being brave. Sure anyone can write a novel and if you are writing a novel then kudos to you. Even if it never sees the light of day, at least you’ve had a bash at it. You can be proud of that.
Still though, why would anyone feel the need to register to write a book?
It could be because to write a novel, there’s no support structure. We don’t mean “people there to help”, there are plenty of industry vultures looking to do people down in the pursuit of a quick buck, we mean the social networking crutch structure. The only reason to sign up and dedicate a month of your life to writing a novel is so that everyone can give you a nice big pat on the back and say, “My word, look at how clever you’re being. I can’t wait to read it.”
Perhaps when it rolls around to the 14th November you can send them the two-page long, tear-stained manuscript that will stand forever as testament to your failure. If you even remember that you signed up by that point.