Skinny (NaNoWriMo) is for Fools

So Im doing this NaNoWriMo thing where hundreds of thousands of people the world over sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s so massively huge that probably even Martians are doing NaNo. It’s my first time doing it. In theory, its a fabulous concept. You commit to sitting down and just WRITING every day to meet a set word count. You commit to NOT editing along the way. NOT judging the quality of your words. NOT allowing yourself to get bogged down by the lust for perfection that usually slows your words down. No, you are just going to write until you have an entire first draft of a fascinating novel by the end of November. I’m thirteen days into NaNo and I have come to the conclusion that doing NaNo is JUST LIKE going on a diet.

1. You tell everyone you’re doing it so that you can be held accountable. You tell your kids. Your partner. Your dog. Your sister. Your mother. Your dentist. Your next door neighbor. Everybody on Facebook and Twitter. “Im going to write my next book in only 30 days. How amazing is that!” And it IS amazing. And you’re amazing. And everything in the world is aglow with amazingness.

2. Then you make lists. Schedules. Plans. Of everything you’re going to eat  – I mean everything you’re going to do to make writing happen.

3. For a diet, you get a scale. You weigh yourself. You measure your blubbery bits. Shock, horror at how blubbery they really are with the lights on. You note it all down, ‘This is where I started!’ Heck, maybe you even take a photo. Holding a newspaper with the day’s date so you can be like those skinny gym freaks with their BEFORE and AFTER photos. (dont you just hate those people? Get away from me.) Same thing with NaNo. You have to measure your progress. Count your words everyday . There are charts and stat measurements so you can track how wonderful you are compared to everyone else who’s doing NaNo. Or how suck you are compared to everyone else who’s doing NaNo.

4. And just like a brand new diet, everything feels great the first few days. Maybe even the first week. You’re eating those salads and lean cuts of chicken, delighting in those steamed vegetables and turning your nose up at those disgusting cinnamon rolls dripping with cream cheese icing. You’re even repulsed by the sight of OTHER people eating THEIR fried chicken and fries. ‘Ewww. So gross. Don’t they know how many fat grams are in that?’ You are on a stairmaster straight to skinnified heaven baby and there aint nuthin gonna get in your way. That’s how I was feeling about my NaNo journey. Churning out those words like they were on an assembly line of awesomeness. Ideas just exploding everywhere with creative sweetness like a mouthful of MnM’s. Paragraphs that went on forever with effortless ease, in delicious loops and swirls of creamy goodness. I was the Kick-Ass Writer of a Kick-Ass novel. Sing it loud. Sing it proud.

5. And then, that diet skids, crashes and burns. You are so sick of being on it that you want to rent out Burger King and have a foodfest party. All by yourself. Just you and burgers and fries and unlimited Coke refills and donuts and pie. You are so sick of your exercise goals that you dont even want to walk to the mailbox. You just want to sit on that sofa and chuck cabbages at it. You dont care how fat you are. You dont care how skinny you wanted to be. Skinny is for fools who have nuthin better to do with their time than count calories. Trim and toned is for losers who cannot comprehend the inexpicable joys to be found in doing NOTHING. And eating EVERYTHING….

Yeah, well thats exactly how Im feeling about my NaNo comittment right now.

Because I’ve written 26,000 words to date. Just past the halfway point. And I’m sick to death of being a writer. I dont want to be a writer anymore. I changed my mind. I hate it. I hate storytelling. I hate Daniel and Leila and Simone and all the rest of those horrible young adults in my book. What do they really know about love and life anyway?  

And just like a diet, you get mad at people who care about you and are trying to help encourage you to stay committed to your goals. The Hot Man used to gently remind me, ‘are you supposed to be having cereal?’ Yes, it’s healthy, isnt it? I snarl. He perseveres, “Yes but not when you’re having three bowls of it at ten o’clock at night. With heaps of sugar.”  And then of course I hate him for saying it. And am convinced its because he thinks I’m fat and hideous. Because I conveniently forget that it was my idea to start a diet-exercise program in the first place.

I wish I never told anybody I was doing NaNo. Because I walk into my house after a day in my office and those children that I gave life to harass me, “So how many words did you write today?” And when I tell them, they shake their heads in disapproval, “But didnt you write more yesterday?” Yeah, so. “So what happened? Why didnt you write twice a many words today? What are you doing in your office all day mum?” And then I hate them all for asking. And of course its all their fault I’m doing this stupid NaNo thing anyway…

And then you’re so depressed about your journey and your stupid goals that you simply must drown your sorrows in chocolate lamingtons. With cream. Or in the case of NaNoWriMo – you simply must go to your blog and write a thousand words.

About how much you hate writing.

How’s everybody else’s NaNo Journey going? Shall we meet up and exchange word counts over Donuts?

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11 comments

  1. You crack me up Lani! I'm actually very jealous of your supportive little people. I have saboteurs who keep asking me to go out and have fun when I need to sit and write. You're doing really well so you have to keep going no matter how much you hate being a writer right now! I feel the same way but we need to push past it!!

  2. Accountability seems like such a good idea till you're actually held accountable for something. Dammit.Your pain is our gain. I have no idea how you're supposed to find comfort in that fact but we, your readers, are ever so grateful for writing when and especially because you hate it. Yayer. loli guess I won't be doing NaNoWriMo next year. hahaha

  3. Lol. Thats too funny Lani. i feel the exact same way about it, but i'm ridiculously convinced I'm going to stick to my goal to write the words. Of course, I have yet to reach the halfway mark. A fact that's making me feel more and more horrible, but still. What's your username on Nano? I want to add you because I have all of 2 friends, and I want at least one more.

  4. Was wondering what NaNoWriMo was. My first thought was "aliens" lol. I don't know why. Yes, feeling you on accountability holder-ers when I don't want to be held to account. I shoot my lot the look of, "you better go account your room before you account me". You are amazing….serve up your awesomeness with lamingtons and donuts 🙂

  5. Thanks for the encouragement Lan – Im buddy-Nano'ing you immediately so your example can continue to motivate me. Actually, youre partly to blame for me doing NaNo anyway. I remember your blogposts abt it last year ( id never heard of it before) and i was envious of your splendiferous word mastery.

  6. No Laura just ignore this entire blogpost. You MUST do NaNo next year. If u dont I will hunt you down and kill you – with donuts or something equally nasty. You are a blogging example to me. So consistent with your blogposts – writing a novel is the NEXT STEP.

  7. I found you and added you! The month is almost over and I'm so far behing. 😦 This really is like a diet. All my friends losing weight faster than I am, and struggling to maintain what I have.

  8. Hi Lani, Looking forward to the Daniel Novella :)So many unexpected opportunities from my weaving journey. Met a young 16 year old Samoan girl yesterday at her school. Helping her out with a Visual Arts project next year. So humbled and proud of her for taking it on to find out more about her own culture.On to the next project/s and enjoying the chaotic order that is my life hahaha. I wonder if Octopuses feel extra effective with 8 arms 🙂

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