Skip to main content

F*ck You, NaNo

I’m just going to say it right now. Fuck NaNo.  
No, I know. That’s not the sunshine and rainbows you were expecting from me, and I get it. But I am really struggling this year. At first I had what I thought was a great idea for a romance. I had been sitting on this idea for months. However, I didn’t properly plan. So, while the idea was (I thought) pretty damn good for what I thought would be a good romance, it turns out that it stalled.

Why did it stall? Easy. I didn’t plan. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Todd, you’re not really a planner, so what the hell did you expect?  And you’re right. I mean, I am doing more planning now than I did a year ago. Well, I should say that I have done more planning throughout 2017 for my books than I did in 2106. But I did NOT do more planning prior to NaNo this year than I did last year.

It’s not that I got lazy, but I did get comfortable, which is pretty much the same thing, when you get right down to it.  I figured that the story idea was a lock and that when I sat down to write, the words would just flow like hot melted butter or whatever that movie theater shit is that they drizzle on your popcorn.

So, there I was on Nov. 1 with a great story idea. And I started writing. Then it hit me. The reality of the situation. I didn’t have a good story idea. What I had was a good literary construct. I had a plot device that served to drive the narrative in a specific direction. But I had no idea where that direction was. I sat down write. The first couple of times I got to the plot device too soon. Or rather, I wrote with the express purpose of leading the reader directly to the plot devce.

Then I changed my POV midstream--rookie mistake.  So, I had to start over again. The becaseI had started over,  I needed to write more spacer. In short, I know where the story begins and I know about how and where it ends. It’s all the juicy fiddly bits in the middle that are just completely messing with me.

And then there’s the little matter of over-ambition. I average 15,000-20,000 words a month on a good run. I had a little more in September and October because I had a book due for a box set.

The word-count goal to ‘win’ National Novel Writing Month is 50,000 words.  So, what did my cocky ass do? Set and declare a personal word goal of 75,000 words. Because I had it in my head that “Oh, I only have to write 2500 words a day to hit that. And mathematically that’s a true statement. The problem is that it assumes that I’m going to write every day.  

I’m not. I haven’t been. There are about 5 or 6 days this month with 0 words.


Sure, I can catch up. I think that currently I can catch up if I do about 4000 words from now until the end of NaNo (in 5 days).  

I have come to realize that that’s not realistic.

Nor is thinking that I will have a working first draft of this romance novel by month’s end.

Neither of those things is a thing.

It sucks, but that’s the reality of it.

I have some dear friends who continue to cheerlead me and tell me that is possible. And yes, it is possible but it is not very probable at this point.

And I’m mostly OK with that.

I’m pissed at myself for not planning out this story more. I like my character now (It took me unilt 11/11 before I gave a shit about her). And she’s fun (now) to write.

If had planned and fleshed out the story and her character before November, I could have been spending the month getting her in to and out of crazy scenarios. But I didn’t. And that kind of cheeses me off.

So, what now?  Well, I’m not giving up writing for NaNo.

National Novel Writing Month is pretty much the Boston Marathon for writers. It requires dedicated year-round planning and focus.  Neither of which I am really in possession of at the moment. I mean, I should be, but you know, life man. Not to mention that I work for a retail company. And November is our busiest time of year.

Yes. I know it sounds like I’m making excuses for why I’m not going to win. And if you look at my previous blog posts this month, with the exception of the interview with Vee Gregory, you will see a similar pattern. They kind of break down like this.

I’m probably not going to win NaNo and here’s why in as many words as possible without boring the ever loving fuck out of you. Yeah, I know, too late, right?

But, thing is, if you are embarking on NaNo this year or next year or the year after that, you need to know 2 things.

  1. You may not hit the 50,000 Word Goal.
  2. And that’s OK.
While I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get any kind of workable draft for Love’s Letters, Lost by Friday, I know that the writing I’m doing on it this month are still helping me. It’s not like I’m going to shelf the book after the month is over.  I really like the story and I plan to continue it and see it through to completion. And that’s the real point of NaNo. It’s not to hit that 50K word count, it’s to write.

Just fucking write.

It’s easy to say. Just sit down and write. But if you really want to make a life out of this passion, you have to do more than say it, you have to do it.

You have to live it.

You have to make sure that wherever you are, there is something with you to capture the words. Pen, paper, recorder, napkin and tube of lipstick, your child’s crayons and a Sesame Street coloring book. Something. Anything.

The words will NOT wait for you. They will come when they are damn well ready to come. They don’t owe you anything.  You need to be ready for them. If you’re not ready for them when they show up, it has been my experience that they will go to someone who is.

I realize that this hasn’t been a typical pep talk. And that’s OK. It doesn’t need to be. I just needed something to be real and raw and express how I’m feeling about NaNo right now. I’m not in my happy place with it.

Maybe I will be in 5 days.

Maybe I won’t.

Doesn’t matter.

I can guarantee that wherever I am in 5 days, I’ll be writing.

And that’s kind of the point.

Peace out, I have some more writing to do.

And now I leave you with a bit of tongue in cheek motivation. My personal parody of those 'sexy' you should be writing memes.

You're welcome,


Popular posts from this blog

Marriage Material??

I had a friend call me today, fuming. I consider myself a good listener on most days. Considering that I was out of town on a work trip and doing absolutely nothing in my hotel room, my listening game was on-point.

She recounted the exchange that sent her off. I will spare you some of the more personal details, but the gist was, at one point, the dude-bro she was talking to flat out told her that she wasn’t marriage material.

Torn between wanting to be a supportive friend and being completely gobsmacked, I felt her frustration. No. That’s not quite right. I didn’t feel the same frustration she felt. I’m approaching what some consider middle age. I’m white. I’m primarily interested in women. Oh, and I have a penis., I can never truly feel the same frustration she was feeling. Or an anger that comes from the same place her anger came from. No matter how in touch I am witn my feminine side (whatever the fuck that actually means).

Instead, the frustration and anger I was feeling w…

Post Con-Fusion

It's 5:40 AM on a Wednesday. I have been up for an hour. I have an outline for a work in progress that I intended to work on this morning. I was in the middle of a chapter that I started at lunch and had every intention of continuing this morning. But, much like me, it seems the characters wanted to sleep in today. They wanted to just hunker under the covers as the rain danced its hypnotic melody on my roof. The swoosh swoosh swoosh of the ceiling fan keeping time with the rest of the nocturnal orchestra.

So, I shifted gears. I am taking  a course on getting more words on the page. Something that I want to do need to do if I am to get all of these books that are floating around in my head out in to the world. It's not so much that I think the whole world will love and adore them, although I certainly hope that is the case. No, it's more the fact that it's getting crowded up there. I need to get these words on the page for my own sanity as much as anything else.


The Kindness of Strangers

This post is going to be a little bit all over the place. If you know me, you are probably used to that by now. If you don't know me, welcome. My name is Todd. I'll be your slightly insecure author and docent on this tour of randomness we call Todd's Mind.

I am going to get a little real, and probably a little raw here today. I would normally be terrified of that. Of exposing myself to the world at large. But in looking at the stats for this blog in the 22weeks or so since I've left Facebook, the reality, I'm exposing myself to about 10 of you. Less if some of you come back and re-read some of the posts. So...yeah. Here goes.

I can count on 1 finger the number of times including today where I have run out of gas. Not talking about pulling into the gas station on vapors, but actually having the car die and coast to a stop because that life-giving dead dinosaur juice was no longer in the tank.

One time.


It's my own fault. I don't like to admit when I&#…