How the Efforts of a Few Can Annoy the Many

“Live a better life….tell better stories.”
By Elizabeth Cutright
© 2012 The Daily Creative Writer

So there ya go then…

I should know what to expect whenever I delve into the comments section of Gawker (or any comments section for that matter), but I was still a little taken aback at all the snark directed at those of us who’ve decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot.  Of course, I’m of the school that all writing serves some purpose and anyone who wants to write should be encouraged, so I consider something like NaNoWriMo a net positive, even if you do end up with people writing Fanfic about Thor or wondering on online forums what  (or who?) “was worse than Hitler.”

Writing for Gawker in a post entitled “Cringe-Worthy Posts from National Novel Writing Month,” Max Read spotlights the questions and comments buzzing around the NaNoWriMO forums.

“The official ‘NaNoWriMo’ forums are abuzz with encouragement and advice, testifying to the power of group support in achieving your goals,” writes Read. “They are also fill with some of the worst ideas you will read in your entire life.”

I think Read’s take is pretty accurate – after all, half the fun of participating in a gimmick like NaNoWriMo is to try your hand at writing without judgment or an end goal other than a completely arbitrary number like 50,000.  And as Read points out, all that output is not necessarily in vain – sometimes real, publishable work comes out of the project – maybe not always right away, but it can set the stage for further efforts.

I do disagree that the aim should be to produce “the next Middlemarch. Or the next Harry Potter.  Or even the next great Pirates of the Carribean-Avengers novel-length cross over.”  As I’ve already written, I think the point of something like NaNoWriMo is about trying something new, challenging yourself, and maybe really learning what it takes to write a novel instead of just daydreaming about the day you’ll finally sell the book you’ve never sit down to write.

Thankfully, amidst all the hate and comments like, “this is why I became a-literate,” there are plenty of folks who, in my mind, “get it.”

“Have you put that much energy into anything creative since the month began?” asks commentator GiantRubberGorilla.

“Actually the internet has made the world seem so much more judgmental and callous that I honestly don’t know if I’ll ever be able to produce something of creative value anymore…I hear peoples snarking in my head for anyone even sees what I’ve done,” admits commentator LittleFlower, proving my point that we should all stand back and let people try – what’s the harm in that?  No one is forcing you to read what someone else has written.

Meanwhile, commentator Liebestod makes the point better than I ever could by writing, “I’m glad my hobbies don’t lend themselves to LOLarious Tumblr mockery, because if ‘pale, awful things of people do well professional’ is the standard, then softball team, dance class or community art show is going to emerge unscathed.”

Exactly!  I understand people make a career out of putting down the creative efforts of others (and many an anonymous internet lurker gets through their sad, lonely afternoon shitty all over other people’s ideas), but there’s also a difference between studied criticism (like a newspaper film or book review) and making sarcastic comments about other people’s efforts – amateur or otherwise.

As writers or aspiring writers (or people who just want to infuse their life with some creative output), we are all, in our own way, embryonic.  Many of us are also battle-scarred and war-worn, having already fought legions of our own “in-house soldiers” (aka the inner critic and his minions).  If you’re attempting NaNoWriMo or just even contemplating someday putting some words down a page that someone else might read, ignore the haters.  Every author, poet, filmmaker, musician and artist you love has faced these same put-downs and insults.  Everyone is an amateur in the beginning.
And in the beginning, everyone is just giving it a try.

Give a try – at least you’re ahead of all the poseurs who’d rather critique from the sidelines.


And here’s a great video from Sam Davidson on the importance of just trying.

<p><a href=”″>Just Try It</a> from <a href=””>Sam Davidson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

All original content is the sole property of Elizabeth Cutright and The Daily Creative Writer. If you are reading this blog on another website, it has been reposted without the author’s permission in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 The Daily Creative Writer

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