How to Survive NaNoWriMo (for the Family and Friends of Writers)

November has begun, which means it’s time for me to strap on my mourning spats and experience a little Bereavement Lite, because everyone I know will be utterly absorbed by NaNoWriMo this month.

NaNoWriMo, or “National Novel Writing Month”, is a challenge a lot of writers participate in. Essentially, you sign up to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And then you do it. It’s terrible.

This was worse for me back in Idaho, living as I did with a mother and a sister who both wrote heavily. For thirty days it was as though they didn’t even exist, some kind of ghosts that would appear only to make another cup of tea and compare word count goals for the day. Did you want your mother to make you dinner? “You’re eighteen and you know how to cook, Jean.” Wanted your sister to do your chores for you?  “No.” Times were tough.

Fortunately, I’m an adult and I’m out on my own, so all I need to do is come to terms with the fact that I will only speak to my father on the phone for the next month. Hi dad. Sure, he could put them on speakerphone, but all that would be heard is incessant typing and an occasional “How do you spell ‘veritable cornucopia of laryngitis’?”

But it’s not confined to my family. All my writer friends- of which I have a disproportionate amount- will also disappear. 10% of my Facebook friends will be gone (and this is a tragedy, because writers post the best things). A good amount of my favorite WordPress bloggers will fade from existence. A considerable amount of my social circle will deplete, to be filled with nothing but the faint sound of typing.

This would be better if the people who did NaNoWriMo actually liked it.

They don’t, of course. “I have to write 50,000 words this month, Jean. 50,000 words! Do you know how much that is?!” they will say. Sometimes all you will hear is the distant sound of their forehead hitting the keyboard. Often all you can do is throw chocolate at them and retreat.

Once my sister decided to write 100,000 words in November instead of 50,000. There was, appropriately, double the amount of complaints.

Whatever you do, don’t suggest that it’s the writer’s fault for participating in this event in the first place. The withering looks you get will be traumatizing.

But, to all you folks out there doing NaNoWriMo: Good luck. I’ll see you on the other side of this month. Please remember to eat.

Also please don’t murder me for being too loud while you’re trying to reach your word goal for the day. I have to play this computer game with the headphones unplugged. It’s very important.

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3 thoughts on “How to Survive NaNoWriMo (for the Family and Friends of Writers)

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