Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Write Way to November

Last year, between a whole bunch of crazy, I decided to forgo my usual November pastime: NaNoWriMo or as I like to call it, No Sleep November. At the time it was the best thing for me to do. Honestly, last year, a month of bizarre writing schedules was just not something I could handle nor commit to. But it was like a punch in the gut when I dropped out. I felt like a tool, disappointed in myself for allowing myself to contrive a nicely wrapped gift package of excuses.

I told myself I hadn’t prepped my story enough. Then I decided I hated the story I was telling. Then I spun into a cycle of “who am kidding,” and found myself staring at a blank screen on my netbook and empty lines in my NaNo notebook - I get a new one every year and all those pages made my head spin, my heart pound. Was this real? I asked myself. Am I having an anxiety attack over something that is supposed to be fun?

So I stopped. Cold. Dead. In the middle of a sentence, I closed the document, did not save, turned off the computer, and walked away from the table.

I was done.

I’m not sure what I regret the most: dropping out or trying to start in the first place knowing I wasn’t feeling it.

Truth be told, I had actually put NaNo out of my mind until yesterday when I got the first official updates from the NaNo people in my inbox. And I panicked!

I’ve got nothing planned! I’ve got too much on my plate! I’m working now - crazy work hours with an even crazier sleep schedule!

After my moment of sheer and utter panic, I stopped and shook my head in disbelief. What am I doing, I thought? I’m already making excuses and I‘ve got a month. I’ll never get anything done unless, you know, I actually go and do it. I love NaNo. I love the crazy, the fast-pace, the insane daily word counts, the weaving and crafting of a story (no matter how much I might think it sucks). I love my few hours at Barnes and Noble typing furiously and drinking buckets of coffee.

I know that I’ve got a good half dozen story ideas that I can plan out this month and be ready to commit to writing in November. So here I am making a public commitment. Call me out on it if you think I’m slacking. Demand that I post my word count in prominent locations. Throw crazy ideas my way and challenge me to make something out of them. I’m game.


  1. How about instead of publicly shaming you, I simply offer, "hey, don't stress yourself out, just commit to writing an hour each day, and start that this month." No dice? Still going to NaNoWriMo yourself to death? Okay. Either way, I wish you all the luck in this endeavor.

  2. I think I'll just comment, "Hey, you better be writing!" every so often in November. Props to you though. I could never do NaNoWriMo.

  3. I always start stories by telling myself that I only have to write as much as I can and then taking from there. Some stories don't have what they need to make it to the end. You probably just got on one of those. Also, you can plan as you go I promise no one will be able to tell you didn't have an outline from the beginning.