NaNoWriMo, or Writers Going Psycho

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Lately, you may have noticed some strange happenings going on in your writerly world.  Perhaps, you’ve seen random folks laden with stacks of yellow legal pads, stockpiling caffeine products, or muttering “character driven versus plot?” all while sporting slightly crazed looks in their eyes.  Don’t be alarmed, but it’s only going to get worse…

Yes, we are exactly one week away from the start of NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month.

As stated on the official site, NaNoWriMo “is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”  This challenge is for anyone who has dreamed of writing and finishing their novel — from the published pros, to the newly inspired. 

To accomplish this obscene amount of writing in such a short amount of time, the site suggests that while incentives are good, punishments may actually work better.  So, what should you do if you find you’re not hitting your daily or weekly word counts?   I recommend a day of “poop patrol” for the five-dog family in your neighborhood.  Or, how about watching an hour of White House blooper clips from the “Bush Years?”  Whether you go the way of awards or threats, make good on your promises, and then get back on track.

I participated in NaNoWriMo a few years ago, and reached the intended 50,000 word mark by the deadline.  That novel is currently in seclusion, and has been affectionately entitled, “La Crapola.”  Now, onto the second attempt.  This NaNoWriMo I’m way ahead of the game — I have a a story outline, character sketches, and a plan waiting to come to life on paper and screen.  But, first things first.

My regular readers know that I’ve been working on a middle-grade novel for quite some time.  I had given myself until the end of this summer to complete the first draft — with the term “summer,” being open to loose interpretation.  Let’s just say that the weather has been unseasonably warm here, so…okay, I didn’t finish. 

However, to start NaNoWriMo with a clean slate (since “previously written prose is punishable by death”) my preparation begins today.  By following the average daily output (1,666.66 words, give or take), I’ll be done with my current work in progress by the end of this week.  It will then be put aside to bubble and ferment, and, hopefully, revise itself while I plow forward and begin my new project on November 1st.  It’s all about quantity, not quality, so when the thirty days are done I should be the proud author of not only my long-standing novel, but of, “Son of La Crapola,” as well.  One can dream.

Our Boy, Jack, in The Shining

Anyone out there masochistic enough to join me?  If so, get your outlines done, your pencils sharpened, and your intravenous coffee drip ready.  Remember — all work and no play makes Jack finally finish his novel (and go on a murderous rampage, but we’ll forget about that part for now). 

See you next week at the starting line…good luck!

39 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo, or Writers Going Psycho”

  1. La Crapola–that’s hilarious! I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, but have been wondering if I should give it a try. I’m supposed to send my second round of edits to my agent tomorrow and don’t know if I’ll get more revisions soon. Maybe I should sign up anyway. I mean, the NaNoWriMo police won’t come in search of me if I don’t finish, right? Right?


    1. I don’t think they’ll come and search you…I think they’ll just throw you in literary jail where all there is to read is “Captain Underpants…” 😉

      You should definitely give it a try. And, I’m excited to hear what your agent says about these current revisions. Good luck!


  2. Thanks for responding to my Zombie sans Bacon post. I went to a Social Media conference and they said it was the sure way to get hits!

    Just read your post. I did the NaNoWriMo two years ago, finished, and then had to rewrite that puppy four more times. Simon & Schuster passed on in this summer, heartbreaker. My husband, so mean, won’t let me do it again until I’ve sold something. I’m interested in your middle grade- I’ve got one of those going too.

    Best of luck!


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Julie. And, yes — how can you lose when writing about zomies and bacon? No brainer!

      I’ll talk more about my book when it’s done…back to writing~


  3. I simply don’t have time to spend writing, not enough to write modestly, much less time to write savagely. I will cheer you all onward and hope that some of you will produce viable first drafts. It could happen. Blessings to you all…


  4. I’m afraid I’ll be much too busy with the re-writing of my novel so I am not taking part this year. Last year, I was lucky enough to particpate for the first time as it coincided with a time I was letting my ms rest and I ended up with a great little novel that I am going to be using one day, really proud of how well it came out. Good luck for this year, hope you have fun!


  5. Hmm–I’ll have to check out that link…although, I am generally **crap** at writing fiction…
    you’ll be THE SAUCE!


    1. Thank you for your the ego boost, Jane!

      I bet you could write something great, too. Or, maybe just work on increasing your word counts, but not necessarily by writing a piece of fiction or a single body of work. I think it’s just a nice motivator to get your butt in chair, and focus on writing.


  6. Good Luck! I got carpal tunnel syndrome just reading this post! Actually typing out 50,000 words would kill me! 🙂


  7. What an awesome idea. I hope you’ll post a link to your novel when it’s ready???

    Best of luck. Remember to stretch and carb up before you start.


    1. Um, sure, I’ll post a link. (no way) I WILL post a link when it’s on the Best Seller list, though. 😉

      Thank you, Maura. And, I really think you should consider participating…remember that idea that just came to you in a flash? Come on…


  8. This is really tempting….

    I hope novel No. 2 doesn’t turn out to be “Return of La Crapola” or “La Crapola Strikes Back.”

    So, when is National Novel Re-writing Month? 🙂


    1. Todd, you should definitely consider it. You’ve proven to be a prolific blogger, so I bet this would be a cake-walk for you.

      And, it’s probably more like re-writing YEAR~ (if the book is anything like my “La Crapola.”)


  9. This is me, with my pom poms and my bad jumps cheering, “Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Go Shawty. It’s your birthday.”

    Sorry, I got a little carried away. No, seriously, that is such an admirable endeavor. I have always been a mite scared to try. It’s just so huge of a task. But here’s the thing: my novel is newly finished, but I have some revamping to do thanks to a fabulous critique partner. I have another writer friend who is undertaking NaNoWriMo and so I have decided that I will vow to finish my revisions in the month of November. I will be there writing alongside of you. Stay strong. Write hard. I’ll be checking in.


    1. Thanks for the cheer (and the visuals) 😉

      Good luck on the revisions. One month? That seems harder to me than the initial writing — I can sit and revise a paragraph for an entire day. It’s a sickness, I know. Best wishes~


  10. We actually considered naming our fourth child Son of La Crapola. Went with Tax Credit #4 instead.

    A novel? In one month? What a sense of accomplishment. I give myself a mental pat on the back when I change the empty toilet paper roll. After a week.

    Kick some novel butt.


    1. I think changing the toilet paper roll is harder most days. Thanks for the good wishes.

      And, I love #4’s name…but what could you possibly name a future #5 to top it?


  11. Hey, good for you, almost done with your current project! I too am contemplating doing NaNoWriMo as a demented break..I actually kind of like what I wrote for last year’s NaNoWriMo, so I’m half tempted to edit it instead. Decisions, decisions…


  12. Hi Amanda
    Maura sent me here today. All I can say is “eish”, as they say in South Africa. What a challenge. Not sure I could possibly do it. But not sure I can resist it. Hmmm… I’ll sleep on it. 🙂


  13. Good luck with NaNoWriMo. I’ve never done it, and stand in awe of those who have. I hope you’re planning to enjoy your weekend. It may be your last chance for rest and relaxation until December.



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