Editorial Assistance

How (Not) to Survive Nanowrimo

I read a lot of writing blogs (like dozens a week). Nanowrimo, which has been going on for a good decade, is the key topic of choice right now. The literary madness starts in two days, and I'll definitely be joining the party. I've noticed that a lot of people, including me the first two times I tried, didn't manage to survive...as in, they didn't make it to 50,000 words.

According to Google, there's about 1,330,000 posts about how to survive Nanowrimo, but there's not really any posts on ways NOT to survive.

Why not? D: This is a sad, sad thing.

What better way to learn about how to survive than learning about the many ways people haven't? Plus, come on, it's really amusing.

Here's my list, from experience and observation, of ways to NOT survive, in the hopes that you take something away from it. Also, they are in no particular order of importance:
  • Get Super Addicted to Addictive Blogs: Yknow, blogs like Hyperbole and a Half. I went to the blog right now solely to get the link, and I ended up spending five minutes reading a blog post and smiling like an idiot. It felt like 2 seconds. There goes a whole sentence you could be writing for your Nano masterpiece.
  • Have an Emotional Breakdown and Fall Into a Deep, Dark Depression: Those can easily last the whole month. Before you know it, it's December 1st and only 1000 words have been written, and the depression worsens. See, emotional breakdowns probably can't be put aside, but try I tell you!
  • Become a NanoForum Supastar: The nano forum is made of literary awesomesauce and inhabited by fun, amusing writers. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to spend the whole month posting everywhere. The good part? You end up writing 50,000 words. The bad part? Those are 50,000 words that didn't go toward your Nano masterpiece.
  • Come in With No Plan Whatsoever: I think this is the most important. Some will argue that this is a matter of preference. It's fun, to a certain extent, to start a full novel with no development beside the title and a very vague idea of what the hell the story will be about. But this is what'll usually happen unless you're different and special - story will be even more nonsensical than it ought to be; story will, in fact, make no damn sense whatsoever in terms of plot advancement; editing will be even more terrifying than it ought to be. In fact, it may take you 50,000 days to figure out everything. Just maybe knowing who your characters are and what the beginning, middle, and end consist of would be a great help.
  • Procrastinate: Nanowrimo and procrastination go together as good as a cat and a swimming contest. Life will still happen, but you've gotta find some way to schedule around life. That is all.
What'd I leave out? What are some ways you know of how to not survive Nanowrimo?
3 Responses
  1. Hehehe, love this, Tiffany! The funny thing is that Monarch was a NaNo novel, and I went into it with no plan whatsoever. So you never know! Of course, after NaNo that year (2008, and which I did win), it took me 3 more months to actually finish the book after the 50,000 words, and then after that I rewrote the whole thing from scratch. I learned - painfully, but a lesson I'll never forget - that writing quickly under pressure does NOT work for me on a novel. Hence the reason I will never participate in NaNo again.

    Still, I got a published book out of it. I can't complain. :)

  2. Tiffany Says:

    Hey, it looks like people actually read this post! I love how, what with how busy your life must be and the other blogs you read, you always make an effort to post on my blog. I appreciate it a whole lot.

    Oh, it totally wouldn't work for me either without a plan. Even before I knew about Nanowrimo, that's how I wrote Savior of the Damned. Totally winged the whole damn thing, and now it's hard to rewrite because there's just so much. Yesterday, I completely outlined all the chapters and finished all of my research. I plan to dedicate 3-5 hours a day to these chapters. This way I have a plan, so I'm mostly just challenging myself but not aimlessly writing. I can't do things aimlessly. It's just not the type of girl I've ever been.

  3. I always read your blog! Even if I don't comment. I hope NaNo goes well for you. It's certainly a really great motivator for a lot of people. Keep us posted!