There is nothing that makes writers more excited and anxious than National Novel Writing Month. Actually, who am I kidding.
Nothing makes a writer more excited and anxious than just being a
writer, period. It’s hard work. And writers face an incredible amount of pressure,
especially when they've committed to completing NaNoWriMo. You’ve already told
all your friends, and you’ve already tweeted #amwriting like five times so that
your followers know you mean serious business.
But it’s mid-November, and NaNoWriMo is getting super-real. You’re
starting to overuse certain verbs and exhaust favorite adjectives. You never
thought writing a book in a month would be this tiring. You have to wake up
early before work and actually sit down and write words. You have to make sure
you don’t stumble into an Internet K-hole and totally blow through your hour of
spare time. You also have to make sure you’re reading, because you know that to
be a good writer, you also have to be a diligent reader. Duh.
You’re also aware of the emotional stress you’re putting upon your friends. Because every single conversation with them inevitably
becomes a conversation about NaNoWriMo. But you can’t help it. There are only
so many support forums online (actually there are a lot, but whatever). You
need a real, human person to talk to, or else how will you ever get through the
Here are some conversations you are bound to have with people about your
experiences with NaNoWriMo:
1. “Can you look over my first chapter?”
2. “Writing is so hard. You know?”
3. “Woo! I’m on schedule!”
4. “I can’t go out tonight, I have to work on my
book. Okay fine, maybe like an hour or two, but no more than two drinks, OK?”
5. “I’m basically going for brevity, you know?
Like, think Hemingway.”
6. “I just don’t get Lena Dunham. Or like, any
writer my age, really. They just make it look so easy, and it’s not.”
7. *Sobs on the phone for seven minutes*
8. “I cheated today by just restructuring an old
story. Ugh, that’s so naughty of me.”
9. “I’m just going to have a glass of wine and
finish this paragraph.”
consider my female protagonist an anti-hero.”
is kind of based on my life, but not really, but yeah, mostly.”
book is basically supposed to be about a 20-something who goes home to live
with her parents because she couldn’t make it in New York. She falls in love with her high-school sweetheart. She might apply to an MFA program, I haven't decided yet.”
I’m stuck in traffic, I just brainstorm plot ideas. It’s really great, you
know? I think we all should just be stuck in traffic more often. It really helps extrapolate all that creative energy, you know?”
want to write a good ‘oh, humanity’ piece, but I’m not Raymond Carver, you know?”
decided to rewrite the Disney classics but with a modern twist!”
is fluid dialogue so hard to pull off?”
this too subversive?”
if I just wrote a parody that reflects our media-obsessed society?”
a better name for my protagonist: Chickadee or Rosebud?”
fingers are like, falling off.”
wouldn’t mind if someone just massaged my hands for like three days straight."
your favorite music to write to? Mine's Bjork.”
the WiFi is so slow at this coffee shop. How else am I going to distract myself
from writing this novel?”
know I have a daytime job, but I consider this my ‘real’ job, you know?”
should just apply for a fellowship and get paid to do this.”
think I’m going to have to kill off one of my main characters. Like, it’s
really painful for me, but I think it’s necessary for the plot.”
want my protagonist to be unlikeable. Women don’t have to be likable, okay?”
you get that the beat-up bicycle is a symbol for the broken American Dream?”
think my story will be set in Virginia. That is soo unexpected.”
pessimistic-but-still-really-quirky character trope is growing stale, isn’t
erasure really literature? Like how can we tell?”
32. “I’ve been writing for like 30 minutes straight.
Do you want to go get lunch or something?"
33. "Experimental poetry makes me nervous. Which is why I'm going integrate it into my fiction."
34. "I really want to write about a vampire who symbolizes sexual repression. Has that been done before?
35. "Do you think I should submit this somewhere? Like will people read it? Not that I care. I write for myself, you know? I guess it would be cool if other people read it, though."