How to Fail at NaNoWriMo

As all good writers (and friends of writers, and families of writers, and distant cousins of writers, and local shopkeepers of writers) will know, it’s NaNoWriMo time – that magical time of year where hundreds of thousands of people around the world decide to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November.  Cafés the world over experience a boost in patronage and coffee sales as writers do their best to reach their next wordcount target in the most bohemian settings possible.

With all of this intensive writing comes an abundance of advice on how to get through NaNo: how to create believable characters or how to create a dastardly plot that would be the envy of Machiavelli; how to deal with characters who won’t do what they’re told or how to write your 1,667 words before breakfast.

So much advice!  You could spend the entire month reading it, with the occasional (vital!) break for yet another pot of tea, and never even realise you’ve forgotten about the writing element of NaNoWriMo.  In fact, you may end up keeping yourself so busy and productive that you can’t understand why your word count’s still sitting on zero.

What you really need is a handy guide to identifying these traps and avoiding them.  A guide written by a veteran of three failed NaNoWriMo campaigns and only one success (yes, that would be me).  A guide that may feel uncannily relevant to your interests.  A practical guide on How to Fail at NaNoWriMo. Continue reading

Vlog Time: Failing NaNoWriMo

We all know about NaNoWriMo, right?  That crazy time of year (known to normal people as ‘November’) when people around the world decide to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days?  Yeah, that.  For the last two years, I’ve decided that it’s a thing that should happen to me.

Last year, it happened successfully, despite the fact I decided join in one third of the way through November.

This year, it wasn’t quite as successful, despite starting right at the beginning of the month.  So I could be annoyed by this and disappointed at my failure and this would seem to be an appropriate reaction, something along the lines of the feelings I experience when I go to take a sip of my tea and realise that I’ve drunk it all without noticing.

“I’ve failed NaNoWriMo!” I declared to all and sundry, which resulted in roughly ten percent understanding nods and ninety percent bewildered looks.

And then I thought about it.  In spite of one migraine, full-time work, several clarinet lessons, four four-hour band rehearsals, one friend’s music concert, a barbeque with the in-laws and extra rehearsals for Maroondah Carols, I managed to write 45,000 words of a story that has pretty much hijacked my imagination.  And that doesn’t feel like failing after all.

So I did the logical thing and made a vlog about it.

Continue reading