Things I must do before NaNoWriMo

And so we come, as we inevitably must, to November. My month of hell, elation and more terrible, terrible hell. The month that I have been dying to reach since January.

And I am not ready. Not ready at all. I have exams and assignments and life that keep on insisting that they are much more important than me writing my first wholly original and non-fandom based full-length story.

So, in an effort to ignore all of these things (psssh, education. Who needs that?)  I’ve written myself a list of things I must and must not do both before and during the month of November. Hopefully by writing it down and sharing it I will convince myself to follow the list. Hopefully.


I MUST have an excess of tea and tea flavours. Normal tea may be a fantastic everyday drink but you cannot possibly expect novelling brilliance to occur without my magical Mint/Caramel/Vanilla blend with a buttload of sugar mixed in.

I MUSTensure that my laptop will not spontaneously implode on the day before NaNo starts this year. Witchcraft and shaman dances have been completed. Offerings to dark gods are prepared for 11:11 on 1/11/11 and secluded place in woodlands (read: wide open university oval) has been found in which to perform these dark rituals. Weather seems likely to oblige with a storm with mass amounts of lightning.

Looks safe

I MUST stop worrying about how I’m not quite sure how my characters will get from point A to point B. This will work itself out and, if not, just like last time a crazy antagonist will start planting wildlife in laundry rooms.

I MUST come up with a small piece of dogma or a motif that I can gratuitously throw into the narrative whenever I get stuck in order to take up more words and to make the story sound much deeper than it actually is. Bonus points if it vaguely relates to the story’s theme. Thoughts: ‘Give up everything first’, ‘nothing’s stronger than your memories’, ‘Honky-Tonk is an underrated music style’

I MUST accept that I have other responsibilities in November and despite my desire to hole myself up in my room and ignore all phone calls, I must refrain from doing so until at least the 12th.

I MUST convince myself that writing 50,000 words in 18 days is not only possible but also probable.

I MUST refrain from talking about my novel constantly if I wish to have any friends on the first of December. Christmas is coming up and it wouldn’t do to cull the friends list just yet.

I MUST actually take my own advice and use all of the techniques I’ve talked about over the past few months. It will make my writing better and will stop me from facepalming everytime I catch something I’ve explicitly condemned in my own writing.

I MUST gather together a list of ridiculously happy pop music in order to cheer myself up at 2am when the ideas just won’t come anymore. I must also gather together a list of suitably moody music to help me when I am writing something particularly moody.

I MUST dive into my bomb shelter of a bedroom and unearth my various wrist/elbow guards in order to stop the onset of RSI that too many years of doing assignments in epic last-minute marathons has begun.

I MUST remember that I am not alone. I’ve got a bunch of people surrounding me doing the exact same thing who will (probably) be willing to yell at me if I ever get too wallowy or stressy.

I MUST NOT self-censure. At least not during the month of November. I’ve promised my boss a copy of my novel after NaNo and I am allowed to edit that to within an inch of its life in order to prevent her from realising that I’m secretly insane.

I MUST NOT allow myself to run off on too much of a tangent. Despite the fact that my protagonist suddenly has a fondness for gardening (don’t ask) there is a princess to be saved and a bad guy to be caught and brought to justice.

I MUST NOT change one of my main character’s personality because I have a crazy desire to have a scary observant person in my cast who may or may not be a serial killer. If I really can’t live without that character I will make a new one who will pop up and make life difficult for my protagonists rather than changing everything about an existing character and making all of his actions not make sense with his new personality.

I MUST NOToverdose on caffeine. My favourite energy drink has disappeared from supermarkets and I will attempt to stop trying to find a replacement. Obviously we are only meant to have one energy drink and that was mine. It is better to have loved and lost and all that.

You will always be remembered...

I MUST NOT overdose on sugar. My dentist already winces when he sees me. Let’s not speed up this process.

I MUST NOT shy away from my story. It’s been hiding in my head (in various incarnations) since I was 16. I’ve avoided it this long and I cannot continue to do so.

I MUST NOT fall into the trap of tvtropes. I am allowed to venture on to that godforsaken website once a day and I am only allowed to visit ten pages per day no matter how interesting the links seem.

I MUST NOT question the worth of what I am writing. Having a breakdown over my inherently terrible and predictable plot and characters can wait until December when I’ve got Christmas carols to cheer me up.

I MUST NOT spend my time writing lists like this during November. Instead, I will simply write and hope that somewhere in the mountain of words that I produce there will be something golden that will turn into a publishable work.

I MUST NOT focus soley on realities and instead dream big. At the beginning of the year I thought I would never be able to keep up with writing a blog, or have a coherent plan for my gigantic fanfic. I thought I would never work in a bookstore and would never get the chance to fangirl openly without feeling a little ashamed. I never thought I would ride an elephant and I never thought I would do an art marathon for charity. I’ve done all of that in 10 months. Screw Reality. I want to write a fantasy novel ANYWAY.

What’s your checklist for NaNo? Is there anything you need to start or stop doing RIGHT AT THIS VERY SECOND?

In the interests of not sending myself completely off the deep end, this blog is going on hiatus until December. See you on the other side!

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About Meg Laverick

I can never be found without a cup of tea in my hand or a notebook in my bag. In between university and generally being awesome I read, write and nerd (that's a verb, right?). I also like analysing things that are probably best left alone.
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23 Responses to Things I must do before NaNoWriMo

  1. Lainy says:

    Ha ha, wildlife in the laundry. I loved it.

    And yes, there is a point A and a Point B…. they will meet eventually. I’m feeling rather confidant actually. There’s an interesting opening andI have things coming along and joining together and linking up and… yeah, i’m getting more excited. Still in head though. Think there may even be a motif in there (i feel so smart).

    Yay for the getting things out of head finally, seriously shouldn’t stay up there for so long. (why does 16 sound so far in the past? D’:)

    WOOO! (i feel like this post needed a cheer)

    • Meg Laverick says:

      XD I got a lot of mileage out of Kai deciding that an orange bird would be the best kind of cryptic clue for Bryan and Brooklyn to unravel.

      Point A and Point B will somehow merge. Hopefully. I’m glad that you’ve got things joining together and working for you! I saw that your novel now has a title? Synopsis on the way?

      16 was 5 years ago. That’s almost a quarter of our lives. It -was- a long time ago.

      And thanks, I needed that cheer.

      • Lainy says:

        Yes it does, i’ve amazed myself. It’s a rather obscure name. I have enough titles for another two years of this. No doubt i will procrastinate printing my stuff to stud for exams and instead write some more plotting in my little pink book and have a synopsis emerge. Actually, it’s half way there in my head. *nods* It’s all coming together.

  2. JuliansGIrl says:

    I offer you 110% of my support and available brainpower! If you need a proof reader, brain storming session, feasible way to escape the Kraken, just let me know!!!!

    … I’m also quite handy with creating the angst too, I’d you need some! 😛

    • Meg Laverick says:

      Aww love you too. And I may need some help in fighting off the Kraken. Consider yourself on notice.

      • JuliansGIrl says:

        Shall I ensure my phone is on me at every available moment, and check my email manically through the day? Because I will do that! (PS: what’s this about not fic related story this year!?!?)

        PS: Do u still have a copy of our last attempt at novel writing where the Kraken made its first glorious appearance??)

        • Meg Laverick says:

          haha no need for manic checking (at least, not until the 12th after my exams are finished) but definitely prepare some kind of pep talk.

          And Yeah- original fic. Scary stuff, right?

          I might have it somewhere on my harddrive. I’ll have a look?

          • JuliansGIrl says:

            ok, so I shall carefully craft my maniac skills to unleash on the unsuspecting population as of the 12th!

            Do u have a plan? How frightening! To have to create from nothing…

            Lol, can u have a squiz if u don’t mind… There’s a scene that randomly popped into my head, that I want to add…

    • JuliansGIrl says:

      Oh, and Dilmah rose with French vanilla. Amazing. Bit of sugar, bit of milk… Heaven in a mug!

  3. Doug says:

    A wonderful post that made me smile and not worry about my crumbling at get go story.

    Good luck

  4. Kasia says:

    :/ I had one of those energy drinks this morning. YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! D:

    :3 so anyway I’m here to give my love and tell you I’m moving back to Gladstone soon and will undoubtedly run into you again soon. (yay!)

    Print this out and plaster your toilet door in it. Only then will you truely be able to focus on your goals X)

    ❤ (and an excess of emoticons)

  5. storymultiverse says:

    Funny, but with a great deal of truth to it for all fellow NaNoers. Good luck.

  6. I am going to miss you!! I am very, very excited to know that you are embarking on such an amazing and long-awaited journey to complete a novel that’s been gestating for years. I look forward to getting the chance to read my signed copy that someone has paid you a bazillion dollars to publish. Maybe Joss Whedon can direct the movie? 🙂 Seriously, I think your novel is going to be amazing!

    You wrote, “I thought I would never … get the chance to fangirl openly without feeling a little ashamed.” That resonated for me, because I felt the same way about ‘coming out’ about being a horror writer. I’m happy you’re fangirling openly!

    Best of luck & have FUN with NaNoWriMo!

    …. where do acquire this Mint/Caramel/Vanilla blend of tea? Sounds yummy!

    • Meg Laverick says:

      Haha, I’m glad at least one of us has confidence in my ability to crank out something worthwhile next month (I say next month but it’s really in a few days. Scary)

      Speaking of scary- and of you being out and proud of being a horror writer (Well done!)- when is your book being published? I’m not normally a horror reader but I’m dying to read it! Your synopsis sounded fascinating and I’m sure that if I read in the middle of the day while surrounded by lots of pillows and candy (Or pillows OF candy… possibilities) everything will be fine. You’re self-publishing, right? Will I be able to get my hands on a copy Down Under?

      My Mint/Caramel/Vanilla blend is a bit self made XD The tea shop near my work has got this delicious tea called ‘Cream’ which is a Caramel/Vanilla deal and I’ve always had a weakness for peppermint tea so I decided to mix them together one day and never looked back.

      • It’ll be worthwhile, I have no doubt. A woman with enough bravery to mix her own tea will certainly write a worthy novel. Also, your blog gives excellent indication of your writing ability – you say meaningful things blended with great humor. A bit like peppermint + caramel/vanilla tea! Now that the weather is finally below 100 degrees (F, sorry can’t remember the conversion to C offhand!), I can finally get back to drinking hot tea. I think I am rambling a bit much about beverages!

        I’m indie publishing my novel. I’m really excited (and nervous!) because my copy editor starts work next week! I need to get the cover design started soon, too. My goal is to have the book available on Amazon and B&N in both e-book and print formats early next year. I haven’t looked into international sales, but that’s a good point. I should figure that out (there is no end of stuff to figure out in this self publishing venture!). No matter what, I’ll make sure you get a copy.

        And if you actually do find candy pillows, let me know! Whole new meaning to sweet dreams! Ah, yes, funny me!

        Have fun with NaNoWriMo!!!!

        (Also, I miss Australia! I visited Sydney in ’06. The visit was too brief, but very memorable and totally awesome!)

        -a

  7. phoenixandtiger says:

    Oh goodness…..I have a notebook full of stuff to do and to not do and to do in preparation. And not to mention so much homework….
    I MUST write until my brain melts on the weekends. NO EXCEPTIONS. And on Thanksgiving week, I MUST write at least 20K.
    I MUST go to my AP Chem to correct my test corrections. Every time there’s a test. NO EXCEPTIONS.

    I MUST NOT procrastinate on AP Chem and AP European History homework. No matter how late they’re due. No matter how stupid they are.

    And since I’m handwriting, no need for witch dances and shaman rituals to keep my computer safe 🙂 But my notebook….might not be safe. Oh crap. And maybe my computer will fail…..

    I MUST NOT think of the worst. The only worst I can think of is my fic being completely stupid and I have to completely start it over. That’s acceptable.

    And lastly….. GOOD LUCK!!!! I wish a happy November (full of random plotlines and the Shovel of Death everywhere) to everyone!

    • Meg Laverick says:

      XD I’m glad I’m not the only one with a list. Lists are good. They make sure things get done (or not done, as the case may be) I wish you much luck juggling AP courses along with NaNo. I’m glad only half my month is shot with school. Then I’ve got the rest of it to catch up 🙂

      And if you like I’ll cover your notebooks and computer with my Shaman Dance (It’ll require a few extra hops and spins and maybe one or two more hollers. No biggie).

  8. silkeberens says:

    Tea, lists, princesses, and procrastination- I can relate…suppose one can only surrender to the process, if sanity is to be even halfway preserved- very hard to do for a control freak like me 😉 😉 (I also believe in the redemption of good chocolate)

  9. Lainy says:

    Ha ha. I think I’ve done my synopsis. Which will probably change. Very hard to do these things when u haven’t written anything XD I dont think it’s very interesting/informative/any good

    I’ve also had a complete freak out about not being able to get to 50,000 words.:S

  10. I hope Nano went well!

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