Someone once told me that NaNoWriMo isn’t worth doing or finishing since it doesn’t pay the mortgage. At the time I could barely believe it. Had I heard right? Maybe I had, but surely she was joking.
Sadly, this statement came from a person getting ready to give up on her NaNo goal. I think of it like a person breaking up with her boyfriend because she thinks he is getting ready to break up with her. Better to be the dumper than the dumpee. In my NaNo example, she thought it was better to be a quitter than a failure.
Now, I think that if you come out of November with 100 more words than you had written going into it, that’s fantastic! Not everybody has enough time for 50k, and I can respect that. What I have a problem with is someone who gives up on the story she was writing only because she knows she’s not going to get that certificate of completion. It begs the question: Did you sign up for NaNoWriMo for some kind of achievement or did you do it because you love writing, have a story to tell, and want to hone your craft?
What bothered me about her statement was the idea that nothing is worth doing unless you get paid for it. Because isn’t that pretty much what she said? Why are you reading that book? It doesn’t pay for your groceries, after all. And why waste time with yoga class if it doesn’t pay the rent? Kind of ridiculous, right?
I can’t even begin to tell you how worthwhile I think spending my November writing a quick and dirty novel is. I get a story that was in my head out on paper. I look forward to the freedom of writing so fast your fingers can barely keep up with your thoughts sometimes. I believe that practice is the only way to become a better writer. And nothing compares with the sense of accomplishment I get when I write “THE END” on the last page of a manuscript.
My fellow WriMos, why do you spend your November writing like fiends? I’ll bet it’s not because you expect it to pay your mortgage.
I firmly believe that not everything worth doing is something you’ll get paid for. In my experience, the opposite is often true.
Now let me examine the other part of her statement. Does NaNoWriMo pay your mortagage? Probably not, but can it? Well, considering that my debut novel was a NaNo baby, it just might someday.
Whatever your reason for writing, keep doing it! No, it’s not easy, but yes, it is worth the effort. Even if it doesn’t pay your mortgage.