NaNoWriMo and Why it’s bollocks

NaNoWriMo is, for those of you who don’t know yet, National Novel Writing Month. Every November thousands of budding authors set down in front of their key boards and have exactly one month to write at least a 50,000 word novel, which is roughly the length of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, or a number of far worse books. In the last `8  years it has exploded from 21 people taking part to nearly half a million in 2015, and almost half of those taking part winning the challenge. Those that win get 5 free paperback copies of their novel and the option to get it published on Amazon.

And it is utter bollocks.

NaNoWriMo proudly state that everybody has a novel inside of them, and this is an attempt to drag it out of everyone. It’s a very noble and creative cause, but surely there are better ways to get people to get those ideas own on paper rather than under stress of a time limit and word count. It’s like being back at uni cramming over night to get a late essay finished before the dean has your guts for garters.

If you are looking to get people to get their best possible work on the page, then why not offer them a bigger reward and give them a longer time to do the work? The novels that are  written aren’t vetoed for quality or content either, so people have in the past “won” by typing 50,000 words of utter bilge under the guise of a humour novel and had the manuscript printed. Admittedly there are some genuinely funny ones, looking at you Ashens with your “50,000 Shades of Grey”, the greatest reference text on the phrase “shades of grey” in the world, featuring 50,000 examples. Incidentally, if you really want o kill a joke someone has thought long and hard about over, explain it on a blog no one will read. My grandmother taught me that.

The lack of quality control is only one issue – as I mentioned earlier, those taking part have to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s longer than many a PhD dissertation in 1 thirty sixth of the time. It roughly equates to around 1,667 words a day, roughly the length of a first year student essay. And those taking part haven’t got the advantage of just padding out their bibliography with books they haven’t actually used. It’s just another level of stress to add on top of writing something engaging and entertaining.

I have noticed that I keep using student similes, and this may have to do with me reading my old university work today whilst bored, or it could just be that I’m an unoriginal sod. Probably the latter.

So why on Earth do people do NaNoWriMo? Well, I’m going to find out. I oppose all the limits and restrictions, but maybe that is why so many people do it. You work best under tight rules and regulations as it forces you to be creative and push personal boundaries – anyone who has wrote for children’s television can attest to that, as they try and get in as many rude reference the children won’t get as possible.

With November coming around again I thought I’d finally write that Novel that I’ve had inside of me for years, but always would “get round to it”. But now I have a fixed date and a time limit, and I know what I must do. Plus any excuse to sit down and write whilst listening to David Bowie is welcomed.

God I’m a pretentious tosser.

Life just goes.

And goes one and on.

They isn’t a deep meaning behind saying that, it’s just truth. And it is a sentiment that, right now, I am very much feeling. Life seems to be just going on around me, not really letting me to get on.

I am more than aware that this is not an original thought for someone in their early 20s to be feeling – lost. And I am also aware that in my last post I spoke at length about not making this blog a philosophical or psychological, but I did say that this is my space to vent, and vent I shall do.

“Bugger it” is a very interesting phrase. It is used to signify frustration, for those moments when the shit hits the fan and everything goes out of your control. But it can also exist when you give up, and decide to throw in the towel. These seem to be the most common uses of the phrase, or at least from what I’ve seen at work and around my friends. It hasn’t any positive connotations, no happy mood.

I’ve been feeling very “bugger it” of late. It has slipped into a few other parts of my life recently, to the point where I turned off Black Mirror, a serious I adore, to watch A Death in Paradise instead because it took less effort to watch. Admittedly, Black Mirror doesn’t feature Peter Davison playing a murder suspect, but it is still better in absolutely every way.  (Thinks: Write a Doctor Who / Black Mirror cross over where he’s evil and hates everyone)

This “bugger it” feeling is probably sourced at work, where most negative feelings seem to grow and fester, but it hasn’t been helped by a general malaise and slow down of my life at the moment. Despite some brilliant recent developments in my life, getting engaged, having ideas about jobs, working on my future, actually gyming properly, yet I just feel like I’d rather be somewhere else at all times. I feel like squidward – doing all the things he loves, yet always with the same bored face.

I know full well what this probably is, as I’ve felt it before and worked through it all. And I also know that the best way to work through it is just that – work through it all.

“Bugger it” does has a third meaning, I suppose. It should be a carrion cry, a big shout before a push forward. “Bugger it, I’m sick of this and I’m going to do something about it.” And I shall, and will.

And I also know one thing – fuck this bloody illness. I’m better than it, stronger than it. I’ve lost too many people to it, and I’ll be damned if you’ll ever get the best of me.

Why on Earth am I writing a blog?!

I think it’s a very important question, to be painfully honest.

No one reads blogs any more, and not many write them – barring of course those very famous and popular blogs that feature clickbait titles, or useful information for the teen or new parent. So why am I, a relatively sane (or not, but we may one day cover that) bloke thinking that now would be the best time to write one?

Is it because I believe I have important things to say? In the blog description I say that I’ll be talking politics and sport, with everything in between. but I highly doubt that what I do have to say on these topics won’t be revolutionary, new, or particularly insightful. I used to be someone who people would listen to and pay attention to, but that was because I was the precocious 14 year old in the room and thought I could be right just by being a tosser. Things have changed now. I know that I’m not remarkable, and that what I say and think isn’t world changing. So I’m not writing my blog because I want the world to hear  my thoughts.

Well, maybe I’ll be deeply personal and share on my blog all of my deepest desires and secrets? No. For two main reasons. Firstly, my fiance follows this blog and that would no doubt end badly if I were to post a blog titled “The Top 14 things your Fiance does to piss you off!”, and secondly, who in their right mind would post their secrets to the internet, more specifically to a publicly accessible blog? Yes, I do know that there are bloggers and vloggers who do do this, I was one when I engaged in my project of filming myself every day for a year during my first year of university and that saw me go from thin drunk to chubby drunk crying on camera, but this is not a platform for those sorts of revelations.

The answer to why I’m writing a blog, and more importantly why now at 23, is very simple: I want to.

There has genuinely come a point in my life where I need a place to vent, jot ideas down, talk through issues and problems, and generally be dumb, somewhere far away from the gaze of work colleagues and most social acquaintances, but still somewhere I know there is a public audience reading and responding. So you won’t be getting deep philosophical discussion on the global need for a modernised work force, nor will I be telling you about what turns me on. You’ll be getting me, more often than not being silly, telling you stories, asking for advice, giving it out where I can, trying my hand at writing again, and on the whole enjoying myself.

Because after all, that’s all I want to do.