The NaNoWriMo forums are frequented for two months out of the year. I prefer it like that, actually; like there are two months of Annual Writing Holiday, one month of sharing and preparation and excitement, and the second of panic and coffee and procrastination. NaNoWriMo is genuinely not the same without the forums; it’s a great coming-together of pantsers and plotters, players and professionals.
There is no greater place for finding ideas. (No plot? Try the dares forum; it might spark something. Need a name for your MC? Got you covered.) Places, plot points, research information – there is someone there who has your back.
It is, above all else, silly. You may be writing a tragedy, something serious that you intend to rework and publish, but between paragraphs you vent your grief and frustration in madcap letters to your characters on the forums. You discuss writing fuel – coffee or alcohol? And what is the best snack? (I recommend pocky and gummy bears.)
Doubt? There is no time for doubt. Look, you only have a month. Skip it and come back. You need that 1667 words, because each one you don’t write now is one that gets added to your mounting Word Deficit. Besides, after the joyful abandon of Week One comes the dreaded frustration of Week Two, in which everything is terrible and you may as well quit and start again. Ah, but this too shall pass… Week Three is a second wind, when things start to come together, and Week Four is a fevered sprint to the finish line of 50,000 words.
What I am saying is that I am avoiding writing my essay by spending all my time on the NaNoWriMo forums.
I’m writing about a book I enjoyed, by an author I admire. I have 1500 words in which to express my thoughts. That’s less than one day’s writing in November. The issue is that I found, under “further reading”, a book that my lecturer has written on this novel. It is 303 pages long. So I’m 180 pages in thinking “holy shit this is good stuff” only to realise I need to condense it all, somehow, into 1500 words. I mean, that’s not going to happen. But it’s really interesting. Each moment spent reading this book is a moment spent not writing the essay itself, but it’s really interesting, you guys. I want to finish it. And yet I doubt much of any of it will actually make it into my essay. The worst part is that I’m having all these ideas that I think my lecturer would be like “oh yeah no totally” but they don’t actually answer the essay question and so have no place in the essay. I’m even considering emailing him my thoughts like some sort of swot. That’s how deep I am in this book. Gods help me.
“Stop procrastinating, Sophie.” Yeah all right, all right, I’m going…