In which I rant about NaNoWriMo
Ah, November. By now most of the leaves have fallen off the trees; the frigid temperatures are here to stay and tons of people are hunched over laptops and computers, trying to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month.
Wait…a 50,000 word novel in a single, solitary month? Are these people insane?!
Yes, yes they are. I can say that because for the past three years, I’ve spent every November doing exactly that and everyone knows I’m certifiable.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, well, my dear clueless friend, I am talking about National Novel Writing Month. I personally think it should be International, because people from around the world participate too. But I’m not in charge of this for some crazy reason, so I can’t change it. I mean, really, I totally should be in charge! I would change the name, give everyone cookies…on second thought, since I’m not in charge I get to keep all these cookies for myself. Yay for not being in charge! I do love my cookies.
Anyway, I don’t know all the details about NaNoWriMo (such as when it started, how it got started, blah blah blah); but like I said before, essentially it’s a bunch of people around the world, each writing their own 50,000 word novel in a month. Pure insanity, no?
I first learned about NaNoWriMo back in high school, and scoffed at the absurdity of it. I mean, please, normal people writing a novel in a month? I thought only authors were capable of doing anything like that. (I wasn’t trying to be narrow-minded, I was just blissfully ignorant.) Despite my attitude, I decided to give it a shot.
“If I’m going to be a New York Times bestselling author one day then I should start writing novels now. Then when I am a NYT bestseller I can talk about how I wrote my first bestseller in a month. It’ll be easier than reading a book!” I thought to myself. (Every author gets the right to punch me for that last thought, but in my defense, I had too much ego and dreams of grandeur.)
Yeah, except NOT. NaNoWriMo kicked my ass so hard that year I still wince in pain just thinking about it. Ow. Pain.
I had tried my hand at writing a historical novel and while I did actually finish the story, my final word count was only around 25,000 words. (Does that even count as a novella?) It was a terrible story. Well, the story line itself was pretty good (if I can remember it correctly) but everything else was just crap. I don’t think I even had character development! On the bright side, I’m pretty sure that story is quite literally dead. The computer I wrote it on died, and my story went with it.
The following year, I was still having trouble sitting down after that ass-kicking I received from NaNoWriMo; but I diligently set about writing a 50,000 word novel that November. And write it I did. All 30,000 words. That time it was a young adult paranormal book, so that might have been why I made it a bit farther, but I still failed at writing a novel. (Was I even hitting novella ranking?) I don’t remember if I managed to fit any character development in that story, and as it met the same fate as my first NaNoWriMo attempt, I can’t go back and check.
Then, a year later, it was November all over again.
“NaNoWriMo, you are going DOWN!” I yelled, while sitting comfortably on a pillow. That time, I had my story planned out. It was a young adult murder mystery, with the murderer being…yeah, I’m so not giving away the ending. It ruins the surprise, you know, if you ever read it. I had character development that was going to take place throughout. I was ready to kick some butt!
It was a tough battle, that November. My first semester of college, with final exams looming in that second week of December. Professors piled essay on top of essay on me. Yet I struggled on, forcing myself to do a little NaNoWriMo here and there. In that last week of November, I took one look at my word count and wanted to cry. I was only at 24,000 words. I was going to fail again. Instead of whining and crying, I kicked myself in the butt! It really hurt, but it got me motivated enough to keep on chugging along.
So I did, going to school and work all day then writing all night. I remember one day, I was extra motivated because my English Professor told me that I exempted the final exam, even though there is a school wide policy about not being able to exempt students from their final exams. My grade was just so high that it didn’t matter if I took the final exam or not. Because of that policy, though, I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. The first thing I did, of course, was make my facebook status about it because nobody ever reads my facebook status. That night, I wrote and I wrote and I wrote some more before finally calling quits around 4 am. But before I crawled into bed, I just so happened to check my facebook, and guess who commented on my status. The one and only Angie Fox!!!!
*cue my crazy fangirl screaming*
I have never met the amazing NYT best selling Angie Fox, nor have I ever communicated with her online. For whatever reason, she just decided to comment on my status. I sat there in stunned silnce for a few minutes before shutting down my laptop and crawling into bed. (What did you expect me to do? It was 4 am and I was tired.) When I got up a few hours later, I wrote a couple more thousand words before realizing that I was at 40,000 words! Sure, it was November 30th, with about 15 hours before December – but I was at 40,000 words! I was finally kicking NaNoWriMo‘s ass instead of the other way around!
That night, I sat down and wrote like my fingers were on fire. Around 11:30, I hit that 50,000 word mark but I didn’t stop. I kept on writing until I finished my novel at 2 am December 1. My final word count was around 53,000 words. Third time was the charm. (Or maybe it was the fact that Angie freaking Fox commented on my facebook status. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE her Accidental Demon Slayer series.) Either way, if I ever publish that book, I am so thanking Angie in it. She’ll probably think I’m a nutcase, and won’t even remember what the heck I’m talking about, but oh well.
As if you didn’t know, we are currently in the month of November. This November I am not locked in an epic battle with NaNoWriMo. No way, no how. I am way too busy this year. I have school, my job, everything here on LE, I just became co-editor in chief for my school newspaper (and that’s like a full-time job) and I need to finish rereading the Morgan Kingsly series by Jenna Black for the rant/Bookish Escape that takes place the first week of December. (Are you (re)reading the series too? Have you never heard of them before? Either way, go read these books! I had forgotten just how amazing they are. Truly amazing.)
Blah. I enjoy everything that I do, but I literally have no free time. I barely have time to sleep! So battling with NaNoWriMo…that would probably kill me this year instead of just turning me black and blue. Instead, I came up with an awesome idea. I am going to write a 50,000 novel in a month, but it’s going to be the month of January! I’ll be awake at midnight on January 1st, so I can get a head start on my novel then. I think I’ll officially call it Casey Gets No Sleep For A Month. Or Casey Embraces Insanity. Hmmm. Maybe I should brainstorm that name a bit more.
To everyone who is doing NaNoWriMo – GOOD LUCK! To those who are too busy to write this month, (or anyone who wants to write) would you be interested in joining me in January? Insanity loves company.