NaNo D5: Does quantity really mean a lack of quality?

Last night I was telling my friend I would have to go three days without writing. Thursday through Saturday will be a wash. He said in the spirit of it, couldn’t I just tack on three days at the end, and I told him that would not be in the spirit of it, as the spirit is to make time when there is none, a struggle every writer goes through.

I informed him it was okay. Four thousand words in a day wasn’t really difficult for me. he bawked that no doubt, each one was of gold. I was left to ponder this as he went to his car and I to mine after watching Lucy, which I already was struggling to digest. All of this gave me a horrible case of intellectual indigestion, but I trucked through like the 60 year old on the toilet after a stint in McDonald’s.

Lucy I chalked up to live action anime, but I continued to contemplate my friend’s stab at if I write four thousands words, it cannot possibly be of any quality worth writing. The days I write so fluidly without ceasing are days I’m inspired. I see the scenes, they flow from fingertips without coercion. Every action appears in my minds moments before it’s on the page. There is still a lot of editing which will be required, but every story requires it and I don’t know if people realize this.

It’s the days I write 600 words. These days are painful, slow, every word is scratched into the wood of my word processor with a dull knife. I beg and plead that the story jumps onto the page, and it refuses actively, nipping at me and gnawing on my mind until, in frustration and despair, I must relent and go off to do something sanity inducing. It’s these days where I write very little that the words are dung.

The reason I do NaNoWriMo is it’s easy to let the words die. It’s easy not to pursue them. It’s easy to say you’re done because today it’s just not coming, and tomorrow that muse will be there for you. There are very few published authors who talk about an actual muse. There are little spurts of inspiration here and there, but at the end of the day they reach the end because they sat down and forced themselves to write. When I can force myself to write 2,000 words an hour, it means I know what I’m writing, there are no questions or hesitations. Those days are gold for me, and not just for quantity. They are my least edited days, aside from errors.

Again, good luck with your NaNo! Rooting for you. For those doing other similar events, rooting for you too. Wishing you all the best.

2 Comments on “NaNo D5: Does quantity really mean a lack of quality?

  1. I don’t do NaNo, but bravo to those who can. All of my work takes time. I’ve spent as little as 10 minutes on a sonnet or as much as 3 days on the same. I’ve written out as much as 10k words on my novel in a day, and other days that I write no more than 100 words, or none, for weeks.

    It happens. But I’m okay with this, because in the downtimes I’m facing down this life and all of its obstacles, storing away massive amounts of information to use, paying attention to little things like eye twitches and hand movements. It’s these days that in many ways, I really get my writing done…

    • Research is the key! And that’s what you’re doing. With enough research, the writing is often reflexive more than straining.

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