Every good thing is Bad and every bad thing is Good.

Sigh. I’m going to do Nanowrimo again this year and I’m pretty excited about my project; time travel, Paris and feminism! What’s not to love?

Googling Nanowrimo today, I came across an article about why Nano sucks and why you shouldn’t do it and why you should just go read someone else’s book instead. Like I said, sigh. While you’re at it, don’t paint, just look at other people’s work and oh, god, please don’t sing unless you have a recording deal…silly isn’t it?

I love that the internet provides so many opportunities for people to express their unique views but it gets confusing. How is writing every day for a month a bad thing? I found the general tone of the article quite Debbie-Downer and very much against my belief that we create therefore we are, but the writer made some very good points. First and foremost, the author was pretty adamant that we don’t need anymore shitty books. Of course we don’t. Few people set out to write a sub-standard novel. {I say few, because I am certain there are contrarians out there who write appaling books purely for shits and giggles.} There is nothing more subjective than art and it just takes a few minutes on Goodreads, perusing the 1-star reviews on world-wide bestsellers like Eat, Pray, Love and anything by Dan Brown. One readers gold is another’s dross. Each, as the very annoying saying goes, to their own.

Secondly, and I think this is my favourite point, writers really, really need to read more. I feel like a writer who doesn’t read, like seriously read in an almost obsessive way…{just me?} isn’t much of a book lover and therefore isn’t qualified to be a writer. I’ve heard writers say they don’t want to be overly influenced by other works, and I get that, but surely that’s just during the writing of the first draft? And surely, no writer thinks their story is so unique and so original that it hasn’t already been done…? {Yeah, right, only, like, every first time writer!}

However, as good as the above points are, I think the writer has conflated writing and publishing. Don’t worry, everyone does it! I blame Amazon, of course. Writing 1666 words a day isn’t a bad thing – EVER – but thinking that the result is perfect and publishable, on December 1st? Now THAT is a problem! Writing a 50K first draft in a month is hard but it’s only the first step and may end up as a novel sometime in the future or abandoned.

I avoid Nano groups on social media because, from about Day 5, they are full of people announcing they’ve finished their 50K. *does some quick maths in head…that’s writing 8 hours a day, smashing out 1250 words an hour… Now, I love to Write FBR – Safi Bahcall’s suggestion that we write Fast, Bad and wRong, but Nanowrimo should be called NaFiDraWriMo – National First Draft Writing Month, and no one should ever be expected to read a first draft. Oh, the humanity!

The act of writing is not at fault here – writing is creation, liberation. I’m always blethering on about journalling and daily writing but when I suggest others try it, do you know how many people are afraid to write? Most people shy away from journalling because they are either afraid of what might come out the end of their pen, or that someone will read it and the shit will hit the fan. Writing has power and should never be confused with anything that might happen after that.

So, who’s joining me for NaFiDraWriMo?


  1. thefilthyfifties

    Absolutely loved this! I am new to writing and have heard people tell me similar things. . Not being much of a reader myself, I feel like I definitely need to read more, but it tends to bring me down because I feel like I could never create anything half as awesome as I’m reading (like your blog!). Can’t wait to read more of your stuff, I feel like I could learn a lot from you.

    1. Christine Betts

      Hey thanks mark. Thanks for reading and your kind words. I know how you feel because I feel it about my painting. I have far more confidence around writing. I love art museums and galleries but when I was painting full time and actually making a living i would teeter between feeling inspired by the work of other artists then quickly realise I could never be as good. 😫 I find with writing that I am pleased to put in the effort to get better.

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