As of last night, only four days into NaNoWriMo, the total collective word count wrenched from 185,587 word-weary brains is an incredible 417,497,927. We won’t discuss the quality of those words. Some will be little better than gibberish, although some — mine included, of course — are creating a legitimate novel.
Not everyone sees the point in this thirty-day exercise. The web has been a-twitter (oops, sorry about that) over a post at Salon.com by Laura Miller suggesting we shouldn’t bother to write; it’s just a waste of time and energy.
Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times took her to task with a searing rebuttal, calling the article “at best wrongheaded, and at worst, smallhearted.”
Then Michael Bourret at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management added a blog post about it yesterday. He says, “I think the communal aspect of NaNoWriMo is fantastic–being held accountable is important. If participating means more butt-in-chair time, then I approve. For authors, I think it can be a great exercise, one through which you can learn new techniques and strategies that can be employed long after the month has passed.”
He does side with Ms. Miller on one point, however, and it’s well made. “If you want to write, read. Reading is absolutely the first, most important step to becoming a writer. And while I have a feeling that many people participating in NaNoWriMo are readers–and probably big readers at that–there are plenty of people who aspire to write books, and even attempt to write them, that don’t read.”
So, my question for all you writers is, whether you’re Wrimos or not, what are you reading right now — not what’s on your TBR pile, but what’s open on your coffee table (or better still, your lap) at this moment?
(I’m reading James Scott Bell’s THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS and Gina Holmes’ CROSSING OCEANS. And for any of you who care to know, my contribution to the collection of NaNo words as of Thursday midnight is 4,009. Not exactly a huge achievement yet, but I’m working to improve it.)
At this moment, though, I’m neither reading nor writing. I’m falling asleep as my fingers tap away at the keyboard, so I think I’ll have to call it a night. (Can one call it a night if it’s actually morning?)