Sunday, October 31, 2010

To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

Hey hey hey. Tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo, one of the greatest months of the year for writers, and the blogosphere is blowing up with preparation for this event. I read that this year, there are supposed to be upwards of 175,000 participants (even more than last year!). Here is my archive of NaNo posts from last year. I seem pretty unhinged in most of them, unsurprisingly.

YES. I did just gratuituously insert my winning NaNo banner because I LIKE TO BRAG. Too bad this is as large as Blogger allows.

So here's the thing. I won't be doing NaNo this year because ... well, if you look at my record of blogging since this semester started, you can probably see why. I'm pretty sad about it because NaNo was definitely one of the best experiences I've put myself through. I encourage you all to do it if you have the time. I can tell you, it's not easy. Looking back on last November, I distinctly remember some crying in the early hours of the morning. I remember walking in the cold to various cafes because I couldn't complete the word count in my dorm room. I remember creeping on other people's blue progress bars in envy wondering how the hell they could get 5,000 in one day and I was coaxing 1,700 and a shitty 1,700 at that. Oh, and there was a lot of caffeine involved. Didn't become an alcoholic, luckily, but me and coffee became BFFs. Me and sleep had a messy breakup for a month.

BUT. Here are all of the reasons why you SHOULD do NaNoWriMo.

1) However many words you write, you're that many words into a manuscript you didn't have before the month started.

2) Your writing is going to get exponentially better. Maybe not immediately and not in a conscious way when you're reading what you've written, but the very act of producing a certain amount of words in a short time demands improvement.

3) Even if you don't plan on using the stuff you write (I haven't used it, but I like reading it from time to time), think of it as a giant writing exercise. It's good practice!

4) You get to meet other crazy people, and craziness is best shared and not suffered in silence alone.

5) It gives you a tangible, doable goal. It is very doable. If I can do it, you can do it.

6) It's fun! (Really. Even when it's not.)

7) Nobody will ever understand why you want to do this. If you're like me, you don't have any writer friends in real life. And everyone will just wonder why you've retreated into a corner for a month. People will question your sanity. They will probably approach you slowly with crackers in an attempt to keep you fed so you don't starve to death. When you get to 50,000 words, nobody will consider it an accomplishment. But the important thing is, YOU will know you completed something huge, and that's something that nobody can take away from you. 

8) You are going to feel like a million bucks when you make it to 50,000 words. You did it. All by yourself. It's one of the few things in life you can accomplish with no help from others. I mean, people can be your support system, but those words are all yours. And I swear, it's the best feeling in the world.

Good luck, everybody! I wish I could compete with you. But I'll be writing as well. Just not in such large chunks. :) 

BONUS REASON: NaNoWriMo is the only good activity you can participate in throughout the month of November. The only other thing I know of that's happening is No Shave November, which some guys I work with are going to do, and I just have to keep my mouth shut. But I still don't fully get the point of it. I mean, when guys do No Shave November, at the end of the month, they can be like OH HAHA I have testosterone YAY look at the hair on my face. However, being a girl, I don't think anyone who interacts with me at all would appreciate it if I participated in No Shave November, so I call bullshit on this event.


  1. LOL. I've heard of MOvember, which is basically where guys grow mustaches for the month to promote awareness for cancers that affect men.

    As for the event you're talking about, I've heard it called NovemBEARD. I only know all of this because my sister wrote a paper for class last year about men's facial hair...or something. Yeah, I don't know.

  2. I thought I was the only one not doing NaNo! Now I don't feel so bad. I know you're having a busy, busy school year, and I think it's smart to not kill yourself for this! Good luck with the rest of your semester!

  3. Annabeth16Chase/NicoleNovember 4, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    I've decided not to do Nano, but rather to write 50,000 words total on whatever this month. Poetry, short stories, different fanfiction. Same idea of forcing myself to write (:D), different way of doing it.

  4. It sounds like you actually had a great time last year. I can sense some wistfulness about not doing it this year. I enjoyed your tips, though, I think I agree with pretty much all of them.