Writing is Never a Waste

Photo credit: Image Catalog on Flickr
So while I’ve not (yet) seen it this year, whenever NaNoWriMo comes around, there tends to come a group of people who go on about how NaNoWriMo (and fast-drafting, in general) is a waste. They argue that anything written that quickly must be junk, that few people come out with anything decent out of NaNo, and that “word vomit” isn’t really writing.

Literary elitism aside, I feel like now is a good time to talk about something very near and dear to my heart, namely: writing is never a waste.

I’ve talked before about practice novels and immediately trunking manuscripts, so I won’t reiterate those posts. But as someone who has indeed put away a lot of manuscripts without attempting to edit them, who writes posts three times a week and still has to write essays for school, someone who does a lot of writing year-round even when I’m not working on a book—I can firmly say every bit of writing you do, whether’s it’s fanfiction, non-fiction, NaNoing, or something else, absolutely works toward making you a better writer.

There are so many novel-writing lessons you can really only learn by writing a novel, and another one, and another one. Every fanfic, blog post, essay, or article you write helps you further hone your voice and practice how to manipulate words, and sentences, and paragraphs to get your point across the way you want to.

The truth is, the only way to really learn how to write is to write. And if NaNoWriMo is the device that gets you to sit down and put words to paper, then don’t let anyone tell you it’s a waste—even if you never look at that NaNo book ever again after November 30th.

Writing, in all of its forms, methods, and strategies, can only help you hone your craft. And maybe when you NaNo or fast-draft, the words you put down aren’t as polished you’d like to see in a final draft, but the thing is, they’re not supposed to be. In writing, no matter how quickly or slowly you write, nothing is perfect the first time.

But even if you don’t go back to make those words better in the future, know that you haven’t wasted your time. That practice you got while throwing those words down is invaluable and can only help you in the future.

What do you think? Is writing ever a waste?

Twitter-sized bite:
Why @Ava_Jae says writing is never a waste of time regardless of type of writing or what happens to the MS. (Click to tweet)

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