A few of my writer friends are doing NaNoWriMo this year. Which I have to admit, I’ve never really been tempted by. Write a 50,000 word novel in one month. I know that if I decided to start a novel, that within one month, I might *reasonably* come up with a premise, and maybe even write 50,000 words. But those words would be be scattered scenes, most of them experimental in nature, and scattered, isolated lines (probably of dialogue), plus some background notes as I brainstorm on characters and plot ideas.
But a complete rough draft of a novel?
My initial writing of a story is always open-ended, and subject to later (possibly enormous) revision–what’s the use of keeping a little ticky-counter that rises as you approach 50,000 words if half of them end up in the round file later? Consigning words to the round file (or the back files of your hard drive–I never throw anything away) is part of the writing process. Success can’t be counted–for me, personally– by the number of words I have (unless I can’t get past one page, in which case, why would I attempt NaNo in the first place).
Anyone who can belt out 50,000 words of a rough draft in one month will probably spend the next year completely changing everything they wrote in that month. Which I suppose gives structure to the novel-writing task. But isn’t the same thing as actually “writing a novel” in a month. It’s the flower bud of a novel.
eta: above post edited to make clear my NaNo comments only apply to me, not anyone else, and certainly were not meant to belittle participants. Different things work for different people.