On November 1st I woke up to birds calling, I kissed my fresh-breathed fiance, I didn’t have to yell at my dutiful minions even once, I ran 5 miles with ease and when I returned to my spotless house I declared with confidence “I’m going to write a novel this month!”
That is not actually what happened.
Instead, on November 1st I collapsed into a heap on my bed, pleaded for more time to get all the work done that I have on my plate, surfed the internet instead of actually doing any of the work, and accidentally signed up for National Novel Writing Month. (#NaNoWriMo). NaNoWriMo challenges writers, wanna be writers, or non-writers with a lofty goal to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It is idiotic and completely narcissistic. So of course I jumped on board.
Here was my line of thinking.
1) I have thousands of stories in my head. Most of them are in picture book length but I’m sure I could stretch one out an extra 49,500 words.
2) I rise to challenges. It is the only way I get things done. If I’m not exercising enough, I sign up for a half marathon. If I’m not happy with my job, I sign up for grad school. I can do challenges. Not necessarily well, but enough to say I did it.
3) November is cold which I hate plus half the people I know are participating in “Movember” which means they look ridiculous and I don’t want to be seen with them anyway.
Now here I am, more than half way through the month of November and I’m teetering on a ledge with 16,000 words underneath me.
16,000 words. It is an incredible amount to someone who only writes blogs and picture books. Yet it is still at least 10,000 words behind where I am supposed to be. I’m so addicted to the characters that I can’t quit, mostly because not even I know what will happen to them. But realistically I’m so far behind that I won’t make it. Unless I make my characters recite the entire U.S. Constitution in the story, just to add an extra 10,000 words to my count. Don’t think I haven’t considered it.
So I figured since I’m struggling I should do what I do best. Write a blog about everything I do wrong instead of facing the actual problem.
Here is what I’ve learned so far.
1) When you are trying to write 50,000 words as quickly as possible it is helpful if you have more than two characters who are just writing blogs back and forth to each other. It turns out, things like “dialogue” and “character development” are what make up most of books.
2) When you are trying to write as quickly as possible, it is critical that both of your only characters speak English proficiently. Spending hours looking up Swahili phrases you can’t remember doesn’t add to your word count.
3) When you are trying to squeeze out a novel in one month, it is important that you not include so much of yourself into your characters. Otherwise you will find yourself reliving traumatic experiences, not sleeping every night, confusing your real life with that of your characters, and getting way too attached to fictional elements of yourself. *Sniff*
Other than that, I’ve got this. I’m sure between my full time job, my full time drama queens, the upcoming holidays, the presents I need to make, the food I need to cook, the blogs I want to write and the sleep I keep hoping for, I will find time to finish this book. It just might not be during November.
Until then, I’m changing the name to NaNoWHINEo. Since that is what I’m really succeeding at.