I am at 46,000 words, and if my pace of the last two weeks continues, I’ll reach 50k tomorrow evening during Philly’s friendly word war with NJ. I’d reward myself with a cookie, but all I’ve done all day is write and eat homemade pumpkin bread, so I think that’s enough sugar for me. What’s your reward system for goal attainment?
I mentioned Write or Die in my Week 1 post, but Philly WriMos have enlightened me to its positive-reinforcement cousin, Written?Kitten! Do red screens and screaming babies give you palpitations instead of productivity? Would you like to be rewarded for your achievement rather than simply not punished? Written? Kitten! might just be for you.
I’ve learned (not that it’s stopping me) Written?Kitten! is not for me; it seems the fastest way for me to distract myself and anyone in arm’s reach (just ask our write-in) is to present me with baby animals. Every 100 words I’m waving my computer around in Panera. It’s a problem. But if you have self-restraint and like kittens, you’ll be very successful.
I’m struggling to adhere to the vague semblance of a schedule. When I hit and past 40,000 words on Monday I was giddy and desperate to write this post early, but contented myself reading others’ NaNo blogs instead. Slay Belle turned up this gem from Gawker, “‘Things as Bad as Hitler’ and More of the Cringe-Worthy Posts from National Novel Writing Month.” While the article is entertaining, I urge you to lose yourself in the comments; like the reader-response section on any internet site ever, it’s polarized with WIN and FAIL. If you want older NaNo criticism, check out Salon’s “Better yet, DON’T write that novel.”
Rather than taking these posts and being discouraged, give some sincere thought to what NaNoWriMo is all about for you. If you aspire to be published or a ‘real’ writer some day, you’re going to need to do more than 1 month of hard effort in a year. Writing is work, like any other creative pursuit or career goal. If you’re just trying to get motivated, challenge yourself, try something new, or have a fun distraction, to me that’s what NaNo is all about. It’s not going to take all of its participants and make them international best sellers, but literacy is not a privilege and the acts of writing and reading should not be exclusively kept and jealously guarded by a few people who really excel.
I’ll be the first person to decry Twilight as plotless drivel, but the bottom line is I can’t 100% disagree with anything that gets people reading. If even one of those people finished Twilight and moved on to other books having discovering the joy of reading, I can’t wholeheartedly complain. Beyond that, Twilight has spawned some excellent literary criticism (no examples to offer; my laptop’s death took with it five years of bookmarks). NaNo is the same for me. Is every byproduct of the month good? NO. I’ve got several hundred worthless pages that will never see the light of day (nor should they) without a major overhaul. But this isn’t about the final product, it’s about the enrichment of the experience itself.
But back off the seriousness horse! I’ve got one more awesome internet distraction to offer you, because week two is over and you might be climbing the walls right now trying to procrastinate. TVTropes is pretty much the best thing ever, but be warned each entry will lead you down a rabbit-hole of cultural cliches, and before you know it you will be referring to things like the Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. If you’ve been reading my Walking Dead and American Horror Story: Asylum recaps, you’ll know I might as well live on TVTropes.
I’d also like to include a nod to my BIFFY, illustrator/artist Kelly Meissner, who has taken her fingers out of many pies in order to shove them into NaNoWriMo! She’s a NaNo Rebel this year, and as she’s also working on a graphic novel version of my 2011 NaNo project, I have to be super nice to her! Plus sometimes I call her and tell her my fucked up dreams (NSFW: sad cartoon nudity).
Stay tuned; perhaps Friday I’ll try and post another brief excerpt from my project!
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