I am the Grinch of NaNoWriMo. Every year around November, I sit in my Fortress of Solitude, snickering at the poor souls who chose to submit themselves to a month of torment. “You fools!” I cackle, black cape swirling stylishly around me as I raise my arms. “You don’t know what you’ve done. You don’t know what you signed up for! MUAHAHAHAHA!” Then I shoo my fluffy cat off my lap and go out for a drink because evil laughter is hell on the throat.
But because I’m so nice, I’m going to talk you out of the worst decision of your life. I know, I know, I’m a saint. So without further ado, here are 10 reasons you SHOULDN’T do NaNoWriMo.
1. It’s stressful
NaNo-ers have write 50k in 30 days. That’s around 1,700 words a day. Throw in stuff like sleep, toilet breaks, and Real Life, you have maybe two or three hours to pound out a college-length essay. Time you originally scheduled for unwinding with a good book or kitten videos.
Are you feeling the crunch yet? Are you feeling the pressure? Are you feeling the shadowy tentacles of time on your shoulder? ARE YOU READY TO THROW YOUR LAPTOP OUT THE WINDOW?
2. Real Life gets in the way
Real Life is like a baby. It demands constant attention, endless pandering and is generally a black hole in which all your hours go. Wanna catch up with The Big Bang Theory? Do’h, sorry! Your boss just called an all-hands-on-deck situation. Then your niece’s birthday is coming up and you have to get her something that doesn’t feel like you spent two minutes browsing Amazon Sales on.
I’m in college and November’s the busiest time of the semester. Finals are coming up, assignments are due every week, clubs are promoting activities like mad. I barely have time to blink, let alone string two sentences together.
3. What social life?
You will become a real-life hermit during NaNo. Hole up in your room, eat nothing but chocolate and hiss when confronted with sunlight. People will start formulating theories that you’re a vampire or some new species of zombie.
4. Everything you write will inevitably look like crap
The point of NaNo is quantity over quality, so in two weeks’ time, your manuscript will look like the product of a deranged mind. At one point, you’ll just be flinging random words at your document.
5. The editing bug
I’m the kind of writer who absolutely cannot move on if my chapter isn’t perfect. I will mull over the same paragraph for days, while a semi-transparent montage of me staring at a whiteboard full of equations and crumpling paper in rage plays.
They tell you to move on, but I can’t! How can I move on if it’s rubbish! It must be me—I’M A HORRIBLE WRITER. WHY WAS I PUT ON THIS WORLD?
6. Writer’s block
It’s bad any other time, but when you’re on a deadline?
Then you freak out because you haven’t reached your word count. See previous gif.
7. Your life will be shortened by ten years
Okay, I’m just making that one up. But those late nights will eventually lead to the plague. Mark my words.
8. You spend a lot of time of sobbing on the floor
See point 1.
9. Sometimes you don’t feel like writing
Because it’s true. Sometimes your muse leaves you high and dry and no amount of begging or sacrificing virgins will get her back. Or maybe you feel like revisting an old manuscript or starting something new altogether.
Write what you want, when you want. Don’t let an inanimate website tell you what to do!
10. You burn out
After NaNoWriNo, you will not want to touch anything writing-related for at least a year. It kills you inside out.
Regretting your decision to join NaNoWriMo? Ready to join me on the dark side? Before I bestow on you your honorary Grinch cape complete with faux fur lining, I give you one last reason. One totally awesome reason to participate in NaNoWriMo.
It pushes you to actually write. How many people do you know say they want to write, but they don’t have time? NaNo pushes you into making a commitment. So what if your first draft sucks? You’ll be surprised how many published writers have sucky first drafts, too. That’s what editing’s for.
And you meet so many great people. Forums are a great place to find a writing buddy. They’re the ones who will cheer you on every word of the way and comfort you during inevitable freakouts. I know I’d be lost without my critique partners: Aly and Inge. They tell me what sucks and what works. We talk every day and not just about writing either. (Yeah, I know I gave you more than one reason, but I’m the Grinch. I can do what I want.)
So, my dear stranger on the Internet. I bid you adieu and, wherever you’re taking part in NaNo this year or not, wish you all the luck in your writing career. Do drop by my Fortress of Solitude sometime. If you bring an offering of bacon and pizza, I might not feed you to the crocodiles.