A lesson on the nature of scale itself, as tender of mixed blessings.
National Novel Writing Month
E.g., write 50K words in a month.
2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.
3) Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.
Fair enough. But then:
Can anyone participate in NaNoWriMo?
No. People looking to write classy, complex novels should not participate. People who take their writing very seriously should also go elsewhere. Everyone else, though, is warmly welcomed.
HYPERGOLEM SEZ: So x-ref "art for art's sake" with "don't take your art seriously" = ???
A. has known people who have taken this route, which is inherently not the problem. The problem comes when a rather disturbing codification of aesthetics comes along with it. The hierarchy of the "impressively adequate." Ergo, from the get-go, the splashy website and $10 entry fee (more of an entrance for the psyche rather than the pocketbook to Feel Part of Something), you are directed towards a group identity: that of a cabal of market-savvy hackers. (Market in the broader, societal sense.) There have always been crap-artists who have created great art (P.K. Dick, Nelson Bond, etc.), but the assembly line nature of this endeavour doesn't bode well for the REVISION of crappy novels into "classy, complex novels."
END HYPERGOLEM pith