See, if everyone in the world tries their hand at writing novels, this unbalances the competition levels. What if these people unearth some raw writing talent and score bestsellers with the minimum of effort, while life-long grafters sweat out their twelfth debut, beating off the taxman with a shorn-down pencil? It isn’t likely, granted. What’s more likely is they’ll write a sprawling unfocused mess, one tenth of which is reasonably written. Still. Do we want to encourage untapped talent when there’s already too much to go around?
No other professions have nanomos. What about learning how to use ASCII programming to decode old computer files? Nanoasciipomo? Or how to fix a broken carburettor on the 1950s Buick 6? Nanobufixmo? Why do people think all novel-writing requires is being present at the computer enough to clack out 50000 words? (Which isn’t a novel, anyway, that’s technically a novella. 75000 plus is a novel).
See, the problem with speed-writing for me is the misleading excitement. It feels good to get all those words out, to loose those ideas on the page and get caught up in the fun of writing off the cuff. But at some point, the writing slips into stylistic repetition, flailing form, shambolic structural disaster. All the worst parts of one’s writing tend to pronounce themselves again and again. And since there’s no time to sit and consider solving these problems, the only option is to soldier on making the same mistakes for a whole MS.
Then again, this isn’t universal. Some might plan their work to the letter and use the month to knock out a formidable first draft, using the community as a support bolster. But it pains me to think of all those useless manuscripts festering in drawers condemned to a life of Stendhalian half-finishedness, when with a little more nurturing they could sing like canaries.