(I don’t always participate in month-long events, but when I do, I’m only involved on the last day)
First off, my annoyance at NaBloPoMo, the movement to write a blog every day for the entire month of November, is in no way motivated by the irony of the fact that I’m running a daily blog regardless of dumb-sounding acronyms, but the one time it becomes cool for everyone to do it, I’m breaking my legs in Wales, okay?
No, the daftness of NaBloPoMo is clear in that it encourages people to prioritise quantity over quality in their posts. I know I write on here every day, so I’m not going to preach about the importance of quality over quantity, but it seems to me that NaBloPoMo encourages people to forsake their schedule and make a fundamental change to the ways in which they wrote, just for the sake of doing what aspiring authors do, only with a bit less narrative, and a lot more ‘sorry I didn’t post yesterday’ nonsense.
I’ve seen some people write genuinely intelligent and thoughtful pieces on this website, in the month-and-a-half I’ve been using it, and I feel that if they were to participate in NaBloPoMo, the quality of their posts would deteriorate rapidly; I’m allowed to write every day, because I write drivel, but some people evidently spend hours or days planning, rewording and editing their posts to make their sophisticated points clearly, a process that is compromised by NaBloPoMo.
Furthermore, the event suggests that high volumes of low-quality work are somehow harder to produce that low volumes of high-quality work; I’ve seen NaBloPoMo and daily posting be advertised as a ‘challenge’ for bloggers, but surely it’s even more difficult, if anything, to write intelligent things on a much less regular basis?
This idea of it being a public ‘challenge’ is another issue I have with NaBloPoMo: it advocates writing, not primarily for the personal gains of improving one’s writing style, but for the ability to tell of your exploits to others. Obviously, some people will undertake daily writing projects themselves, to help them improve their writing, but I don’t see why there should be an entire month dedicated to all of us writing regularly.
The unity of NaBloPoMo, while providing a strong sense of community for anyone undertaking it, does encourage people, I feel, to do it just because it’s a challenge, and something they can boast about completing later, with all of their mates who did it at the same time. I think that writing is one of the most personal means of expression we, as a species have, as we are forming the biological impulses in our head into characters that we can look back on, as a representation of our own thoughts and psyches from the time; I write so I’ll be able to learn what seventeen-year-old-James felt about stuff, not to write for the sake of it.
That being said, I don’t think NaBloPoMo is a bad thing; anything that encourages people to write and share ideas must be beneficial, for the writers, as they can improve their writing style, and the readers, as they get an insight into the mindsets of people they wouldn’t usually read about.
Also, even though I dislike the group aspects of NaBloPoMo, I am a lonely, nihilistic bastard, so anything more communal than banging your head into the sharp end of a hammer in one of those death-rooms you build on The Sims with no light, food, toilet, bed or door; although the focus of those participating in NaBloPoMo might differ from my own personal goals when writing, I think that having others to talk to about and help you with the month is a pretty relaxing feeling.
Overall, I don’t hate NaBloPoMo. It might have a stupider name than this Dutch Political Observer, but it encourages people to write. Although I’d prefer us to refine our means of communication on a daily basis, it’s nice to see the literature-loving branch of the Social Outcasts taking over the world, even if it’s just one month at a time.