This just infuriates me to no end.
First, some background: Have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo? For those who are completely clueless, it’s short for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. It started out as one of those goofy not-really-holidays (kind of like National Donut Day or Otter Appreciation Month). But some years ago, a group of writers decided to make it an organized effort to encourage aspiring writers and novelists to achieve that great bucket-list goal of writing an entire novel – and do it within one month.
The rules are simple: Complete a 50,000 word novel (or memoir or screenplay or work of non-fiction – really, it’s up to you what you want to write) within the month of November. That’s it. Each day, the group sends out pep talks from professional authors and you can connect with other writers in your area to help each other stay motivated when plot twists and characters get troublesome. And the goal isn’t to have the “perfect” novel – the goal is to have written something that (with some HEFTY editing and revision) you could potentially turn into something publishable, if you decided to go that route. But even if you don’t, it’s still a pretty neat accomplishment. It’s a quick and dirty way to say “I WROTE A BOOK!”
The official NaNoWriMo website even has a word count widget where you can “certify” your completed novel and you “win” by writing at least 50,000 words (more, if you can manage it) and you get online bragging rights. It’s cool, if a little silly.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo before. I would never publish the novel I came up with because it was such a rush job and it’s probably crap. But it felt good to get the story out on paper (well, in a Word document, anyway). I got the digital badges and other social media doodads to proclaim how awesome I was for achieving the goal. And I’ve wanted to do it again for several years, but I haven’t been able to because life has been so wonky every November since then.
However, the NaNoWriMo organization just pulled a stunt that was so unnecessary and so stupid that I am I completely DONE with them.
According to this, NaNoWriMo sent out an email blast to all their email list subscribers proclaiming like good little leftist virtue-signalers that they were SO OUTRAGED that a sitting POTUS would DARE treat Muslims and other minorities like second-class citizens and that NaNoWriMo is SOOOO inclusive and tolerant and loving, not like that big old meanie Donald Trump (who is Literally Hitler) –
NaNoWriMo strives to be a gateway and sanctuary for people’s voices. Our guiding belief is that every person’s story matters, and we celebrate the inclusion of all religions, races, genders, sexualities, and countries of origin. We help people find a safe space to be who they are—creators, storytellers, and world changers.
Because of this core organizational value, we join the many voices standing against the presidential executive order that bans refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
For over 15 years, we’ve had the privilege of writing alongside a community from over 200 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. We don’t build walls. We strive to dissolve borders through stories, the vital human narratives that expand our worlds.
So while we are not a political organization, we feel moved to take action.
No, NaNo – you are NOT a political organization. You are a glorified writer’s group that moved from meeting in the basement of the public library to having an online presence and that caught on because enough people feel like they have a novel to write. Nothing about President Trump’s executive orders is going to affect you or your operations. And maybe you ought to bear in mind that there are a good number of right-wing writers who have used your services before and who actually – GASP – agree with the temporary halt on immigration from countries that export terrorism!
In fact, that’s where I heard about this email to begin with, before I’d even seen it for myself. I’m part of a couple of closed writer’s groups on Facebook for writers with a conservative/libertarian bent and we discuss politics as well as writing and how politics affects writing. And nobody was happy about this development. Several reported canceling their NaNoWriMo accounts, and communicated to The Powers That Be that they were explicitly doing so because of this boneheaded political move (I followed suit as well – I no longer have a NaNoWriMo account and I am glad to be rid of it).
Oh, and here are the ways that NaNo is going to “fight back” against the supposed bigotry (please, hold your laughter until the end) –
In response to the executive order, as well as any future government efforts that threaten people’s basic freedoms, we will:
Celebrate creativity over apathy, diversity over fear, and productivity over despair.
Welcome all stories and continue to make NaNoWriMo a safe space for all writers.
Advocate for the transformative power of storytelling to connect people and build a better world.
If you have concrete ideas for how we can work toward these goals (or if you have feedback about anything in this message), please share your thoughts.
Thank you for being part of NaNoWriMo. We are all individuals of different beliefs and backgrounds, but we come together through a shared passion. We pledge to remember that, and to look to our community as a model and inspiration, as we get to the work ahead.
With gratitude and optimism,
What? No coloring books, guys?
It’s so cute how leftists are suddenly SOOOOO concerned with basic freedoms and human rights for all. Sure didn’t care much when Barack Obama’s administration was targeting conservative groups through the IRS or when he had diarrhea of the executive order pen or any of the other examples of government overreach when God King Emperor Barry was in charge.
Here’s the dumbest thing about this: NaNoWriMo has always been (up until now) completely apolitical. Their mission is to encourage novel writing. They don’t police what you’ve written and they don’t care – what you write about is completely up to you. They are just supposed to be a tool for aspiring writers.
Well, they’ve got the “tool” part exactly right.
What really gets me about this is that NaNoWriMo had no reason to inject themselves into the political conversation. Sure, the individuals working with the organization could express their opinions on their own platforms, but why in the WORLD did they need to do with under the “NaNoWriMo” banner? Might as well just say “Anyone who disagrees with us isn’t welcome here!”
Well, we all got the message loud and clear. Politics comes first, everything else comes second. In the realm of arts and culture, anyone right to the right of Hillary Clinton is evil and isn’t allowed to be part of the group. Even if the group has nothing to do with politics.
Grant Faulkner and all the good little Social Justice Cultists at NaNoWriMo can take their virtue-signaling and shove it. I can keep track of my own novel word count, thank you (every word processing program worth the name has one). And the Facebook writing groups I’m part of do more to encourage authors than a special once-a-year event ever could.