This a response to FridayFlash’s guest post, What’s the Point of NaNoWriMo? If you don’t like controversial topics, you might want to stop reading now. I’m sure I’ll make someone mad.
I will never describe myself as a writer. That does not mean that I hate writing (obviously) or my writing is bad (subjective), but I am not a writer. I write as a hobby. I am a multimedia developer. If you don’t know what that means, I build things on the computer, primarily learning activities (Adult Learning) over the Internet in computer-based/web-based training (CBT/WBT). Why do I say that I’m a multimedia developer and not a writer? In everything I have done as an adult, I have focused, in one way or another, on teaching others how to do something online. When I was in the military, I had my primary duties (Arabic translator) but I also worked in the Training Squadron building computer systems and websites for new Airmen to learn the job. From there, I worked on a Star Wars website teaching others how to make special-effects on home computers. My B.S. is in Business Management and International Studies. Why? So I can work with the government and companies to develop online culture and language resources (something I am doing now).
EVERYTHING is focused on online learning and building something. I do it because it is who I am.
So what does that have to do with NaNoWriMo? If you take it as an exercise in willpower, perhaps you need to reexamine your desire to be called a writer. I am not saying that refusing the challenge excludes you from the writer’s club, sometimes you have other commitments or simply do not wish to participate, but if your sole-purpose in writing for the month is to ‘tough it out’, then you are probably not a writer, but write as a hobby, like me.
I may not be a writer but I know the passion and commitment to a craft. A writer should ache to put words on paper (or Microsoft Word) just as I constantly think about web-code, adult learning methods, and new possibilities. We all have our good and bad days but the desire should always be there and need to be satisfied. When I started ThePenintheStone.com, I had no idea I would write about creating a website in WordPress, but I saw a lack of information for writers and I had to do it. It is who I am. The same is for a writer. The NaNoWriMo idea can be a fun exercise for writers and hobbyists, but it should only be a fun goal for the hobbyist (to actually finish a novella) or another day at the office for the writer.
Either the fire burns in you or it does not.