What they do (and don’t) tell you about NaNoWriMo4 min read

by | Oct 13, 2017 | Writing | 0 comments

They do tell you that NaNo is a time commitment

They don’t tell you that it’s not just the practicalities of sitting down to write, but also the fact you have to say no to all those other (shinier) things.  You could go to the cinema with your friends and have a great time (and get the blue slushie, always the blue slushie).  Or you could sit at your screen until you give yourself a headache, only manage three sentences, and then binge eat everything in your fridge in front of Gilmore Girls reruns that only reinforce the fact that your writing isn’t funny enough.  But you’re three sentences further into your novel and NaNo.  It’s not an easy decision to decide to commit, especially when you’re weighing it up against blue slushie.

They do tell you that it’s okay to fail.  No matter what your word count ends up as, it’s more than you would have written otherwise, right?

They don’t tell you how hard it is when you fail and see everyone else on the forums getting their shiny purple bars of victory.  They did it.  Why couldn’t you?  Are you not as good as them?

It’s not like you can even tell yourself that it’s quality not quantity, because in NaNo it really is the other way around.  This one is hard.  I failed last year and really struggled with it, it completely knocked my NaNo confidence.  But failing happens and we have to learn to deal with it.  And as annoying as it is, it really was more than I would have written otherwise.  And way more than people around me not even giving NaNo a try.

No plot, no problem

Really though?  When you’re staring at a blank page?  Seems like a problem to me.

I think that some extremely loose and vague idea of something that’s happening to some people might at least be required.  (Even if it turns into a completely different vague idea, happening to some other kinds of people, during the actual writing.)

Practice self-care and look after yourself while writing.

How though??  There is NO TIME LEFT IN THE MONTH.  Okay.  Practical tips.  Batch cook food.  I mean it.  It’s surprising how long you can eat the same mac and cheese dish when you absolutely have to.  Do as much washing as you can before the start of the month (and then attempt to live in your pyjamas).  Write in your lunch breaks so you can have some evening to yourself (if you don’t have kids).  If you do have kids – I have no idea how you manage to fit in NaNo and I am in AWE.  I write on the commute.  I aim to knock out 500 words on the train in the morning.  That gives me a bit of leeway in the evenings.  Do double-word-count Sundays to ensure all Saturdays can be spent relaxing or seeing friends.

It’ll be hard, but worth it.

They don’t mean Elle Woods getting into Harvard Law kind of hard.  They mean 127 Hours kinds of hard.

It’ll be fun.

Hard, but very fun.

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