(Painful) NaNoWriMo Realities

7:00 AM


If you survived the first week of NaNo, congratulations.

It just gets harder from here.



Yes, look, I'm still alive! The first week of NaNo combined with life in general started kicking me in the shins, but I've returned now, hopefully for a full week of blogging. One day I'll figure out this whole 'staying on schedule' thing... 

We're now a whole week into NaNo. This is when you usually start to settle in and figure out how it's going for you, when the three weeks ahead of you feels real. Most of us go into NaNo with a state of optimism that's harder to keep up when you're in the first bit of the novel, or you're behind, and everything is kind of starting to fall to pieces.

Reaction GIF: tired, Michael Cera, George-Michael Bluth, Arrested Development
Actually me, always. 
I've prepared some helpful reminders for you.

NANOWRIMO REALITIES (week #1) 

It's always harder to write than you think it's going to be. Pretty soon the adreneline is going to wear off and you'll have to struggle to even open the document. You won't want to write a single word. Keep going anyway; it's worth it. Everybody has to get past the hard parts. 

Someone has beaten NaNo by now. Lots of someones. These people are insane and not to be trusted. We don't all have the liberty of sitting down and writing 50k in 4-6 days like some people, and that's okay. I mean, at least you have a life. 


It's okay to be behind. Really, I promise. Lots of people are behind. (I was until a few days ago, when I sacrificed my sanity to buy myself a day off without guilt.) It happens. Your success as a writer isn't wrapped up in writing 1,667 words every single day. Or reaching 50k. Or any of that. 

It's okay to cheat. Trust me. Long chapter titles for no apparent reason? Notes to yourself in the text? Rambling about how tired you are because writing words that contribute to the story is surprisingly hard at 3 in the morning? All legit. All okay. Whatever it takes. 

Your writing is going to be awful. Unless you sacrificed your soul or are totally insane in an awesome way or just have too much talent for the rest of us (in which case, get out of my face and go do something useful), your NaNo writing probably sucks. A lot. My NaNo writing sucks. NaNo is not here to help you write good words. The fact that you're writing means more than anything else. 


Life is going to get in the way. School, and social events, and other stuff you're obligated to attend. These things are going to happen. They're going to cut into writing time and make it hard to stay on track. Life and mental health are way more important than any kind of word count goal, trust me. 

Yes, it's hard. Keep going anyway. 

Basically, this is more a reminder to myself than anyone else. NaNo is the worst thing in the world right now. I'm not too fond of this novel of mine and I miss my bloody sci-fi babies. If there's anyone who needs this stuff pounded into their head, it's me. And that's okay. 

NaNo (or writing in general) is pretty hard. You should be proud of yourself for trying at all and not running away crying. 

Keep writing no matter what. 

What have you learned about NaNo this month? 


23 comments

  1. Your post on Nano are the best! They always make me laugh and feel slightly better about my writing.

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  2. I think all NaNo participants need to see this at the beginning of week two. Because I sure needed this. Week one is running on that excitement rush and spewing words out onto the page quicker than you thought. Week two comes around and that excitement has worn off and it kills you to even THINK about writing. That's were I am right now. But you're right. You've just got to keep going. EVEN IF IT KILLS YOUR SANITY because it does.

    As for what I've learned about NaNo so far... is that sometimes being a pantser is not a good idea. I have no plot. What even is plot.

    Also *whispers* you should do another post about your NaNo novel because yes.

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  3. I always love my new ideas more than pretty much anything else--until I try to write them. That's when all the plot holes and bad characterization and bland descriptions come out. Thanks for this post--it's so easy to forget that I'm not alone, and that everybody goes through the same problems.

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    1. SAMEEEE. I mean, in my head I know that I'm not the only one, and this is a writer thing that goes on, but it's still easy to get stuck in the rut of "I suck everyone else is doing great what even are words" and that's no fun.

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  4. Weird how you posted this exactly when I needed it.
    I had a great first week of NaNo. It was fun, I was staying ahead, I loved my novel, everything was awesome. I was rocking the entire thing. And... then... Sunday hit. The second week began. And suddenly I was falling behind, the words weren't flowing, and everything started sounding stupid. And it's just been getting worse. I'm stuck as anything right now (which is why I'm procrastinating by typing out this long comment) and I'm stressed out and unmotivated and really, really tired.
    But this helps. Thanks so much for the reminders-- of course it's hard. Of course all this is happening. I knew this was going to happen when I first decided to do NaNo this year-- but it's worth it.

    But no, what is this? You're "not too fond of this novel" of yours? NO. Don't say that! You're novel is awesome! Your snippets are awesome! Your idea is awesome! Love it well!

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    1. I'm so glad it was helpful! And thank you. <3 You've got this!

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  5. this is so accurate. man, nano plus life has been killing me. trying to stay on top of my word count, plus being in my college theater production, plus trying not to fail my classes, plus babysitting, plus being SOCIAL......I think Im actually dead.

    but keep on going! I believe in you. you can do this my friend. write on.

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    1. NaNo life is the worst and best kind of life at the same time. Urgh. Write on as well! We'll survive (or be dead) together.

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  6. I'm having fun with NaNo so far. It's my first, and though my word count isn't amazing, I've enjoyed watching my story grow. It's actually been a looong time since I've just sat down and written, since the story I'd been working on is a big mess and I've just been planning and trying to solve things and getting confused by the thing for forever now. So this has been a nice change. xD Plus I'm loving this story and the characters and there are other characters I'm looking forward to meeting and although the story actually stinks right now, I still love it. xD

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  7. I really admire anyone who can do Nano, but I just don't think it "works" for me! It's definitely a good tool to get you in the habit of writing everyday, but I feel like if I did it I would just end up re-writing literally the entire first draft, and personally I'd rather take a bit longer on it and maybe cut down on some editing time in the future. However, I've totally still been writing each day this month and have made a lot of progress on my current WIP. All this Nano discussion on blogs and social media has been really encouraging me to keep going!

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    1. And that's fine! I know other people who don't do NaNo because it's not something that works for them, and that's 100% okay. As a writer you get to do what works for you and it's awesome that way. Good luck with writing things!

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  8. I had a great first week of NaNo, I'm ahead on my total word count, and then two days ago suddenly making my daily goal felt like crawling through a lake of fire. I slogged through it, but it took ages, and I was like, this is the NaNo I remember. (I've done, and won, it before, but not for the past few years, so coming back this year feels strange...)

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    1. "crawling through a lake of fire" is the best description for the feeling. Yup.

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  9. Lots of good tips. NaNo is hard, but it does feel so fantastic when you win. NaNo is also so much better with a buddy. I did it alone last year, but this year with a buddy it's so so much easier.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  10. I'm not doing Nano (yay!) but these are good tips. I'm just busy and have never written a novel before. But keep going, people! (I'll keep doing chemistry even when my textbook is hard to open) I believe in you! http://weavingwaveswords.wordpress.com

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    1. Haha, you're lucky. :P I feel ya on the chemistry thing, too. It's kicking me to death right now.

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  11. While I'm not doing NaNo this year, these are some great tips for next year. (And you're making me very nervous for my sanity next year.) Good luck!!!!

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    1. Ah, I'm already worried about next year. xD

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  12. The insane person is me. I finished the word count on day 11 and finished on day 20. I can guarantee it has caused me problems. Such as a massive writer's block concerning my main project.

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