While this is true, and I agree with her assessment that unfortunately far too many of the people who wish to write novels hardly ever read novels, I think she's going after the wrong target here. NaNoWriMo does not cost the writers anything and does not encourage its participants to buy writing guides or join expensive workshops. The availability of NaNoWriMo to anyone who wishes to take part is both its defining characteristic and, in the eyes of its critics, its biggest problem. In my eyes, however, NaNoWriMo is nothing more than a tool, a simple device to kickstart my novel, and like any tool it can be used for any purpose by whoever is holding it. You can use a hammer to build a table or to bash someone's head in, but whatever you choose to do with it, it's kind of stupid to hold the hammer accountable.
I also agree with Miller's assertion that good novels would get written anyway, with or without NaNoWriMo, but if this tool is a more effective means of reaching this goal for some, what's the harm of using it?
|Ralph Ellison at his desk|
Overall, the piece smacks of a sort of elitism, of a "leave writing to the experts" approach, which for me also had a certain consumerist undertone - that we should applaud the purchasers of books, and all aspire to purchase more, rather than attempt to produce anything of our own, even if only for our own enjoyment or fulfillment.