To the Rest of Us NaNoWriMo Failures

NaNoWriMo FAILUREI’m a failure. I’m a big fat lazy aimless unambitious masochistic failure. And this post is dedicated to all the Wrimo Failures out there. 

A few days before the start of November, I thought “Hey, I’ve never given NaNoWriMo a serious shot before. I’m gonna’ do it this year!” Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I started writing with a vague semblance of a point for writing my book. It was going to be a fictional memoir, you see, full of meta postmodernistic dark humor about someone who forgoes writing a suicide note for writing a suicide book. The protagonist was totally going to die, you see, and he would know all about it because he was going to be the one doing it. Yeah, this idea totally rocks! No plot, no problem, right? I have my ending kinda’ sorta’ hashed out. Alls I needs to do is slap some peanut butter and jelly in this sumabitch.

As you may have seen in the couple of updates that I wrote about in the past month, I started out strong writing right on track at the 10,000 word mark and then I gradually fell behind. But hey, a couple cups of tea and a few hours of pure writing time at the cost of my sleep should just about do the trick. I’ll be caught up in no time.

Nope.

Just nope.

It was about 10:53 p.m. on the evening of November 30th, when I realized there was no way I was going to be able to write 7,000 more words in 2 hours and 7 minutes. If I wasn’t already too sleep deprived, I would have broken out the irish creme, coffee liqueur, and half & half and started watching Monty Python videos. I just stuck to watching Monty Python sober- but not until after I had churned out a thousand more words for the next hour and 6 minutes. In the end, I reached 43,438 words of my “novel.”

And you know what? 43,438 words ain’t half bad. Actually, it’s freaking fantastic. This past November was a wonderful learning experience via NaNo alone and I am thankful for the lessons it has taught me. In fact, there has been a lot to be thankful for this November.

NaNoWriMo Chart with Frame

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde

So for all of you out there who started NaNo, but never got around to reaching your goal for whatever reason, I raise my mug of tea to you. Whether your wrote 49,000 words, 12,000 words, 100 words, or just came up with a title, we can all give ourselves a pat on the back. The point of NaNoWriMo is not about writing a perfect New York Times bestselling novel in 30 days. The point is to just get started. Any step forward is a step in the right direction. It’s stagnation that kills us. There are some people with novel ideas who never so much as write down the title! You did that and perhaps much, much more! We did that!

This all sounds a lot like naive, self-deceiving, optimistic bullshit – which it is – but yet, it isn’t. NaNoWriMo is about having fun. Even the stress you experience through NaNo isn’t supposed to be overly negative stress. You’re not meant to beat yourself up over your holey plot or stubborn characters. You’re supposed to have fun with it. What is the point of writing if you’re not enjoying yourself? I may not have been even close to finishing my story, but I’ve made [in]glo[u]rious headway on it.

It might be a steaming pile of ox dung right now, but it’ll make great fertilizer for future writing endeavors.

So chin up, fellow Wrimo Failures. Even the greatest writing fails we have achieved this past month is a small victory.

What are you thankful for? Fellow Wrimos, did you reach your goal? What did you get out of NaNoWriMo? Will you do it again? (I know I will). Post your word count proudly and share your thoughts in the comments! 

Read about others’ NaNo “losing” experiences:

Follow my mundane thoughts on Twitter @SOStudent and watch me make a fool of myself on the YouTubes (stressingoutstudent). Cheers.

Advertisements

The Good, the Bad, and th- Oh Dear God the Month’s Almost Over

What? How did this happen? Wasn’t Halloween just yesterday? Where did my jack-o-lanterns go?

Angry Bird Pumpkin - Jack o Lantern

Pretty damn good, if I say so myself.

This can’t be happening. I mean, midterms just happened, but they only just happened! And didn’t I just pass my 10,000 word mark on NaNo? Wait. Oh. I fell behind. Dammit.

According to the handy little stats chart, I’m supposed to reach 30,000 words by the end of today in order to finish my NaNo novel by the end of November 30th. Fu-u-u-u-u-udge me. The second week slump hit me hard, what with those silly things called “midterms” going on in the background. Turns out it’s hard to focus on writing a novel when you’re memorizing the difference between valid and invalid argumentative forms and writing code for a ridiculous program at the same time. I am unworthy of my Asian genes.

NaNoWriMo Word Count - F My LifeWhat I’ve been doing with NaNo so far is cranking out between 3,000 and 4,000 words a sitting and then letting my “novel” sit for two or three days and then crank out another 3,000 to 4,000 words. This does not a healthy sleep schedule make. Not that I was getting much sleep anyway, what with clips of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” existing on the Internet. [And no, I haven’t yet seen the revival of “Whose Line”… and I’m not really looking forward to seeing my Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie as… old people.]

Oh despair, despair. Start ransacking my room for inspiration, pulling books from recently re-organized shelves, boiling pots upon pots of hot water for tea, shut off my Internet connection…

Maybe I won’t go quite that far. After all, “Whose Line” clips aren’t just going to watch themselves now, are they?

Stay strong fellow Wrimos – the end is nigh! And in other news, how’s life? I feel like we haven’t had much chance to chat lately? How is your day going? No, I’m not going through a mental breakdown. I genuinely want to know about how y’all are doing. Please excuse my rat nest hair and craptastically short update. 

6 Days, 12 Cups of Tea, 10000 Words

Phew, excuse… me… I just… whew… let me catch my breath… I… uh… two seconds…

We are experiencing biological difficulties. Please enjoy this video as we get oxygen back into our lungs.

We now bring you back to your irregularly scheduled post.

Why was I capriciously out of breath just now? “Why??” you ask? Well, I’ll tell you: I just got done doing a victory lap around this Barnes & Noble. It has a larger perimeter than I had initially thought.

It’s a week into NaNoWriMo and over 280,000 writers around the world have written a gazillion (give or take) words of their respective burgeoning novels. And that’s only counting the people signed up on the official website. After falling behind a couple days and wallowing around 6000-something words, I got my act together and sat myself down in this bookstore, turned on Pandora, and got myself a Grande no-water Chai. From reading a comment from my previous NaNo post, I checked out the site Write Or Die, a web app that serves as a motivational tool for freewriting. Highly recommend it.

So after writing on and off for roughly two hours, I cranked out over 3,000 words and passed the 10,000 word mark!

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Whoot, whoot. So far, so good. With this, I am in awe of the people who are already at double this word count and have set incredible goals for themselves this month. With this fountain pen – just imagine I’m holding a sophisticated fountain pen in one hand and a glass of wine in the other – I salute you. Stay strong, fellow Wrimos!

[What is my book about? Well, when I find out myself, I’ll be sure to let you know.]

And in unrelated, but far more important news…

SHERLOCK IS COMING BACK TO THE U.S. ON JANUARY 19TH.

The game is afoot.

How are your NaNo endeavors going so far? As always, feel free to add me as a writing buddy and I’ll make sure to provide you with plenty of empty encouragement and a competitive spirit.

The Obligatory NaNoWriMo Announcement Blog Post Thingy

If you’ve been even remotely near any writerly circles on the Interwebs (which you likely have since you’re on a WordPress site), you know what this post is going to be about. No M. Night Shyamalan twist. No revolutionary authorial innovation. As of the publishing of this article, it is October 31st, what most consider to be date of All Hallow’s Eve, but what amateur writers know to be as…

THE DAY BEFORE NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH.

(Also known as “The Last Day of Restful Sleep,” “The Beginning of the Great Annual November Coffee Flood,” “Descent into Insanity,” and “The Day of Slamming Doors into Trick-or-Treaters’ Faces in Favor of Last Minute Plotstorming” – among others.)

If you are indeed reading this on Halloween Day, this means there is less than 24 hours before the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for those in the kNoW (See what I did there?… Oh God, the descent has already started.)

For those of you not cool enough to have known about this, here is a rundown of what exactly NaNo is:

  • Goal: Write a story at least 50,000 words long by the end of November – this amounts to at least 1,667 words a day on average
  • No starting before November and you lose if you don’t finish by November 30, 11:59:59 pm
  • Just kidding, this isn’t the writers’ Hunger Games
  • Kiss your bed goodbye for the next month
  • Stock up on coffee and trail mix
  • If you’re a student (like me), your grades will suffer
  • The point is to leave your perfectionism at the door and simply writeyou can edit it it all in December when you’re done
  • Sign up on the official website to meet fellow NaNo-ers, read and contribute great advice, and just have a ton of fun. Writing nerds unite!
  • Also, it’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) – self-explanatory. Those attempting to do both NaNo and NaBlo at the same time should be committed to a mental asylum.

I’ve attempted the NaNo shenanigans a couple of times – did not meet the goal either times. What I found was my greatest problem was a lack of purpose or end goal. I recently spoke to a friend of mine and he gave me the most mindblowingly simple, yet extraordinary advice I had ever heard pertaining to writing: start with your ending.

*head explodes*

Perhaps you’ve thought of this before and you systematically do this when writing long stories, but I had never thought to do this before. This was perfect! Create your ending, so that you have a target to aim at whilst furiously scribbling/typing away. It doesn’t matter where your tangentify your story off to, you can always bring it back around to where you wanted it to end. And of course, the end can evolve as you delve further into your story, and the evolution is made that much easier because you had a place to start. While you are the author, you’re still not some god – you cannot make something come from absolutely nothing.

With this advice in mind… I still have no idea what the hell I have to write about. Oh well, I still have *glances at clock*…

Sonofabitch.

NaNoWriMo Participant Cover

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How did it go? Will you be participating this year? If you’re a fellow student, how are you going to balance school work, NaNo and procrasterbation time? How many gallons of caffeination will you drink this month? Good luck!

I’ve registered on the site as stressingoutstudent, so feel free to add me as a writing buddy!

Pep talks, funnies, and more NaNo info: