The Joys of NaNoWrimo

First, I’m sorry that this post is so late. It’s what, the 15th of December? NaNoWrimo finished fifteen whole days ago. But, with all the school work and reading/YouTube videos I’d missed over the month, the words NaNoWrimo, and even blog, were of the same nature as radioactive waste to me; I could only be around them for a short period of time before I began to writhe on the floor and froth at the mouth. I’ve taken care of those tendencies now, so here I am.


For the uninformed, NaNoWrimo is a challenge to see who can lose their grip of sanity the fastest. I probably broke the world record by losing mine within thirteen seconds. It’s the fifteenth of December and I still can’t find it- I suspect my lack of planning for last month ate it.


During November, from midnight on the first, to midnight on the thirtieth, participants willingly give themselves blisters from typing/handwriting too fast. For adults, the default goal is 50,000, but you can choose to set it higher if you have a lot of money to pay for several trips to the psychiatrist. For young writers, the default goal is 30,000, but you can set your own personal goal, anywhere from about 1k to 204872398479238479238k (there are people who do the latter, I’m sure.) I  chickened out and wrote 30,000 words along with all the five year olds on the site, cowering in the shadow of those tackling 100k.

I’ve skulked around the forums for a couple of years, joining in all the nerdy conversations and such, but come November, I would scuttle away. I felt guilty because I never tried to do the actual challenge.

I participated this year because I was overwhelmed with guilt.

It’s going to be great, I thought. I haven’t written all year, so all my good ideas and sentences that would’ve usually been spread over 365 days have been bottled up and are going to explode all over Microsoft Word on the first of November.

Instead I spent many hours slowly giving myself a concussion by hitting myself repetitively over the head with my laptop.

I did come up with some real gems, however, from when I had plenty of better things to do than writing (rearrange the pens in my pen cup, clean my computer keys, dust my Harry Potter shrine, google pictures of cats, trim the lawn one blade at a time with a pair of blunt safety scissors. Even clean my room.) There were moments when I had painfully squeezed out each word through my pen (the metaphorical one, at least. I’m advanced enough that I write on a computer), and I had done so for so long that I really didn’t care anymore. Here’s one such gem…..

They shuffled around for an indeterminate period of time, awkwardly trying to decide what to do next. What was protocol for jumping randomly down a giant hole anyway? Felix tapped a foot nervously on the floor and breathed out noisily, trying to fill out the painful silence. Wow, this is awkward. Also, the longest period of time I’ve ever gone without talking. Actually, he was a little proud of himself for that last one. He pretended to clear his throat for what may or may not have been the twelfth time in five minutes, shuffling [awkwardly]. Wow! he thought. My fingernails are so interesting. Perhaps I’ll study them for a moment. The following two and a half minutes unfolded into an even more awkward period of investigating his nails and the half moons of dirt under them.

In the first week, I was inspired by the fact that I was finally writing, after almost a full year of… not. Come the second week, I trusted myself enough to venture back onto the forums for some word wars. In week three, I was intensely curious as to what treasures were hidden on the winner page. By week four, I was motivated purely by the fact that a whole lot of people were going to laugh at me if I didn’t have a winner badge on my blog by December. At the beginning of the final week, I was eleven thousand words behind. I finished on the 30th with 5273 words over my goal. I didn’t finish my plot. I think I’m about…. half way through, two thirds at most. Though I complain, though I am still nursing the bruise on my head from hitting it repeatedly against a wall, I enjoyed myself. It was exciting and I got words down.

Here’s to months spent editing and contemplating ‘accidentally’ pouring water over my laptop so I have an excuse not to.

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2 responses to “The Joys of NaNoWrimo

  1. That is awesome! Congratulations!

    Also, I think I broke your thirteen-second-record. I lost my sanity before November even started, when I decided what my wordcount goal was going to be.

    Gosh, editing is going to be fun… I’m hoping I will discover that I actually have less rewriting to do than I thought.

  2. Well, I find it hard to believe that you lost your sanity in such a pathetically short time period. Well done for persevering, I would be keen to read the 35273 words and compare it with the five year old cohort.

The place where unironically enthusiastic geeks may congregate and be unironically enthusiastic!

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