November is NaNoWriMo bad writing and vomit texts incoming

7 November 2022

It’s November and that means it is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) time. Writers, whether new or established, have thirty days to pen a fifty-thousand word manuscript. That works out to about seventeen hundred words a day. A daunting task for sure, but it wouldn’t be much of a challenge if it were easy.

NaNoWriMo doubtless makes for an enjoyable way to while away cool autumn days for northern hemisphere participants. A Camp NaNoWriMo event is also held in April and July, and might suit writers based south of the equator, who’d rather be away from their laptops, enjoying the spring weather in November.

And while the vast majority of works produced during NaNoWriMo seldom sees the light of day, the event has launched the careers of several authors. But it’s not for everyone, and some writers are critical of NaNoWriMo. They say the tight deadline encourages bad writing, as people scramble to reach the fifty-thousand word target.

It’s one reason science fiction author and game developer, and past participant, Dale Thomas gave up on NaNoWriMo. But Thomas goes further than describing some NaNoWriMo output as “bad writing”. To his mind, vomit texts make for a more apt metaphor:

You see, the big problem I have with the challenge is that it forces me to write fast. Too fast for my liking. I end up vomiting all over my writing application. And because only wordcount matters and the clock is ticking, there is no time to wipe the drool from my mouth, no time to find a damp cloth to clean up the mess. The vomit just sits there, drying out, and day after day I vomit afresh. Layer upon layer of disgusting, half-digested ideas, dripping all over the once pristine white page.