By Jodie Cain Smith
If I had my druthers, NaNoWriMo would find a tall cliff and plunge into the great hereafter. I have given it a try. Twice. And now I can claim two Novembers full of self-loathing and failure. Allow me to share my post-NaNo thoughts with you.
Who chose November?
Is this because whoever created this awful challenge wanted some cutesy alliteration? National Novel na na na. We get it. Adorable. No amount of alliteration will ever work for me.
Did the original NaNoWriMo-er not know that November is a really busy month, especially for those of us who already gave into the pressure of creating a Norman Rockwell version of the holidays? Which, by the way, start with trick-or-treating on Halloween. No more of this wait until after Thanksgiving. Nope. How can I be expected to write 50,000 words in the month that I am also supposed to avoid eating all my kid’s Halloween candy, tear down the cobwebs and witches, throw up a cornucopia, hay bale, and a sign that reads “So blessed” all in a mad dash before the day of gluttony? Then, I must figure out how to brine a turkey and do all of my Christmas shopping in one day that more resembles The Purge than holiday shopping. No, November will not do.
And, the cutesy doesn’t end with the name.
You must decide early on if you are a planner or a pantser, and be willing to fight to the death in defense of your chosen writing style. There are badges to be won, inspirational coaching to be bombarded with, and writing events. I can think of few experiences more awkward than sitting around a library table with ten strangers all with laptops and ear buds, all silently staring at each other when we collectively hit the writer’s block.
And, yes, I’m officially adding NaNoWriMo social media posters to my naughty list.
You finished your word count for the day? Congrats. You’re on thin ice in my Facebook friend list just for mentioning NaNoWriMo. Chapter 85 was really tough, but you suffered through it and exceeded your goal by 40,000 words but are going to have a really hard time cutting the manuscript back to a publishable length? Oh, my finger is itching to click that block button, humble bragger. You finished a week and a half early and decided to start another novel just for the fun of it? Blocked. Goodbye. You don’t deserve friends.
But, mostly, I hate NaNoWriMo because of what it revealed of me as a writer. I discovered I am a planner who really wants to pants it. I discovered I am weak in the face of distraction. I discovered that writing is a lonely road full of self-doubt. Thanks, NaNoWriMo, for revealing my faults and insecurities. Sometimes, I don’t want to know the truth.
To all of you who succeeded this November, my sincerest congratulations. You’ve done what many could not. Just don’t post it in my Facebook feed.