It’s Time For Some NaNoWriMo Shenanigans

There needs to be a chocolate somewhere in one of these logos. I don’t actually do coffee, so chocolate is my fuel.

Aww yeah. It’s that time of year again. Writers around the globe are preparing for a month of voluntary, literary stress. A month where we ignore our friends and families in favor of our laptops and coffee. A month of planning, scrapping and more planning along with writing a crazy amount of everything in a frantic attempt to get a stable plot. A month, yes indeed, where we try to write an entire novel in a single month.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the premise is simple: write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. This is held in November of every month, but some people have branched off and made their own for almost every other month of the year. I personally have also taken part in AugNoWriMo. You can probably guess what that means.

Getting it all done, however, is not so simple. For those of you who have tried writing a novel before, you know that there’s a lot to do before you even get writing. Luckily you’re allowed to do your planning before the month begins, but you can’t start writing until November hits, so that’s when the true challenge begins. The NaNo process usually ends up happening in a few stages.

1. Oh yes, I got this. You’re confident. You’re on top of the world. You’re ahead of the recommended word count and you’re blazing on ahead. You are winning and you are awesome.

2. Hmm. Where do I go from here? Okay, you’re a little stuck. You hadn’t planned on things moving this quickly and you haven’t thought this far ahead. But it’s okay, you can make it, as long as you… just…

3. This sucks. I need to delete half my book. No, don’t do that. Well, you can, but then you’d have even more to write. Now you’re getting a little behind and you’re struggling to choose between going back and editing or pushing on ahead.

4. Oh god why. You’re definitely behind. Your plot is stuck. The month is over halfway over and you have absolutely no clue what to do. You hate your characters. You hate your book. You hate yourself. And your characters and book aren’t fond of you either.

What? Doesn’t every computer have one of these? It’s really useful. And red.

5. All right, heck with this, ON WE GO, YOLO. It’s time for the victory charge. Your last minute motivation has kicked in and you’re writing like no one has ever written before. Disregarding the fact that you’re going to punish yourself for using YOLO even once in your life once you’re finished, you write and write until, just barely, you make it across the finish line and win your year’s NaNo.

So yes. NaNo is fun and exhausting and stressful and full of anxiety. Holy hell is it ever worth it. I’ve got my plot chosen and I’m now fleshing out the details, getting ready for the oncoming storm. I’ve been doing this for years and years now, and I love (almost) every minute of it.

Are any of you doing NaNo this year? Have you got all your stuff planned out, or are you going to wing it? Do any of you fine peoples want to be my friend?

I look forward to seeing you out there! For everyone else, you probably won’t be seeing me during November. Maybe I’ll come around to demonstrate just how many of the above steps I’m currently experiencing. I apologize in advance.

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31 thoughts on “It’s Time For Some NaNoWriMo Shenanigans

    • Agreed…that’s round about 150 pages, isn’t it? I’d have to do some heavy sacrificing at the shrine of Carpal Tunnel.

      • As a NaNoWriMo participant, I personally feel like when people are marvelling at how tough it must be to do it, that they’re exaggerating. Not that it isn’t hard, of course! Even though it’s less than 2k a day, it’s still higher than the average writer’s daily count, I think…

  1. I’m desperately trying to plan at least some vague plot before November hits, as the last three I’ve started without having a clue what I’m doing, but it’s not going so well! Maybe I’ll be winging it after all. zoe (starrie_angel on Nano!)

  2. This is my first attempt at NaNoWriMo… we will see how it goes, but your summary here seems pretty solid (its exactly how I have imagined it)… hopefully I come out of it in one piece – with at least a usable foundation for a novel… :)

    • For sure! That’s how it usually goes. Even if you crash and burn, it’s usually after expending a lot of effort and figuring out what you want to do in the future (with much less stress involved).

  3. I want to do it, but this year sucks. School plus work plus other obligations. Fortunately, that’ll all stop at the end of the year…when it’s too late.

  4. Seeing as how there is brown in the NaNo logo, it probably IS made of chocolate! Give it a lick. If it’s not, I’m sure there’s a real chocolate one hanging around HQ somewhere. =D

    How many years have you been doing NaNoWriMo? I think this will be my sixth, and it won’t be any easier. I’ve been planning since February for this novel and resisting the urge to dive in early, but regardless of my enthusiasm and non-pantsing I’ll be at the panic stage come Nov 15, as usual. ^.^

    • Ooh, that’s a good thought. I’ll have to visit just to make sure. Honorary Chocolate Checker Person will be my badge, they’ll let me in.

      I’ve been doing it since about… 2007, though my profile doesn’t quite reflect that. I’ve only had to skip one year, I think. Either way it’s been super fun. And I agree, no matter how much planning goes into it, it’s always a pain. There’s just no break!

    • That works for some people. I think I’m one of them. I’m the type to write start to finish without having every bit planned out. Whatever happens in the middle is often a surprise, but it’s worked so far!

      • I have found that in the past I do better with planning things out, but this time I am going to try and just put what ever is fun into this story. As weird as it sounds I am doing this to try and have some fun.

  5. This will be my fifth NaNo in a row and this one presents an interesting challenge…for 16 days worth of November I’ll be working out in the Alberta oil sands, putting in 12 hour days plus an hour a day worth of traveling on a bus and whatever amount of time it takes me to eat, shower, wash my clothes, etc. Yes, it’s going to be a PARTICULARLY stressful month for me. @_@

    Anyone who wants to share in my pain can find me under the username Toreshi. :)

  6. I did NaNoWriMo last year and LOVED it! It was my first year and I crossed (barely, more like 50,018 words or something? Yes, real story words.) and it was so incredibly satisfying. The rest of the year, I have been slowly re-writing my book. Sadly, it’s been put off due to school. I’ll see if I pick it back up for November. Good luck on yours this year! :)

  7. yay, another nanogeek! I do want to be your friend :)
    I still don’t have a plot, only a few random lost characters haha.
    Good luck!

    • Welp, there’s still time! Though for some people that translates to, ‘There’s still more time to procrastinate!’ So if you’re in the latter group, welcome to the club, and subsequently, good luck to you too! I look forward to seeing your progress. \o/

  8. I’m not plotting, but I’m lucky to be writing the third book in my series, so I at least have an end game to work towards! The first two books were written for the last two NaNos, so it’s become a little bit of a ritual for me. Last year wasn’t so bad, but my first year was hell on earth. I’m REALLY looking forward to this year! I’m already halfway to my fundraising goal for this month, I wrote my “goodbye real world” blog on the first of the month, and I’m just scrambling to get as much editing done on the current draft of my first book before November hits. Got a publisher who wants me to send in a finished(ish) product of the first manuscript after the first of the year, so it’s a bit stressful already! I’m there with you this year!!!

    • That sounds really awesome. Congrats on getting a publisher! And I was tempted to work on a sequel to one of my series this time, but I had a sudden inspiration for a standalone that just entered my mind recently that’s begging to be put on paper. See you in the field!

    • There’s still time. =D Not too much, granted, buuuut you never know what you can come up with. If the time comes and you still have nothing, you can still just wing it. Make up a few characters, give them a conflict and run with it. See where it gets you!

  9. I envy you your choice here sir! I will take part in NaNo. One year. When my ridiculous psyche and even more ridiculous life stop tripping me up. Good luck. I’m sure you’ll do famously.

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