Sunday, October 28, 2012


Unless you're my husband.  Then you grab the Excedrin and lock yourself in your office and mumble a lot, as if the wife had just said she ordered herself one of those spanking new (and much coveted) iPad minis.

It's November.  And November means NaNoWriMo!  For the uninitiated, that's National Novel Writing Month and it's a 30-day word production marathon.  The idea is simply to write a 50,000 word (or more) novel in November.  Nobody judges the quality, only the quantity.  (Whenever I do NaNoWriMo it's helpful to constantly reread the chapter on "Shitty First Drafts" from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird, one of the best writing books ever.)

Last year I did NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month.  Its rule of one post per day was hard, but not nearly as hard as NaNoWriMo.  I've finished NaNoWriMo twice and both times I found myself on the first of December mildly twitchy and baggy-eyed and confused, like I just woke from a a different century.  I usually spend the rest of the holiday month binging on Entenmann's fruitcake.  For myself and those around me, November is even worse. That's when my already pitiful housekeeping standards fall and my already pitiful meal-cooking enthusiasm diminishes and I become as grumpy as Donald Trump when a Democrat wins.

So why take part in the insanity again?  Probably for the same reason I write at all.  It's certainly not for fame or riches or worldwide acclaim (which all have so far eluded me).  It's because I feel a compulsion to do so...and I'm insane.  I have made a deal with myself that if I start to get too overwhelmed and crazed and/or we can't find the living room floor (or the dog) under piles of trash and clutter, I must give up.  There's no shame in that.  Well, actually, I feel a little shame when I don't succeed.  And I beat myself up mercilessly until the end of the year.  And I binge...a lot...  But there's nothing wrong with quitting.

NaNoWriMo suggests announcing to any and all who will listen that you are participating.  They figure that people might feel sorry for you and give you the quiet and space to write and maybe bring you things like fruitcake to sustain you.  They also figure if you annoy enough people with your constant chatter about how you're going to write a novel, you'll be too embarrassed to not finish.  I guess I just completed that suggestion.


* NaBloPoMo

* Don't You Have Anything Better To Do?


quilt32 said...

Oh, no - I thought you weren't going to do it this year.

Nancy Susanna Breen said...

Are you actually writing a novel or simply producing 50,000 words?