Skip to main content

NaNoWriMo, or: Shut Up, Sit in the Chair, and Write Your Damn Book

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway

Writers around the world are buzzing as November approaches, signaling the 16th annual National Novel Writing Month challenge. At the stroke of midnight on November 1st, thousands of writers will start a mad dash toward completing a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days.

Spread evenly, that’s 1,667 words a day, close to five single spaced pages. But here's the trick: it doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't even have to be good. The point here is to take an idea, sit down, and beat it over the head with hard work until you’ve got something whole to work with.

Why do this to yourself?

If you want to get good at something, you’ve got to put in the work, so you might as well have a bunch of other suckers along for the ride cheering you on. Writers more than anyone get a free pass for procrastinating, waiting for that perfect moment for the narrative to form completely and the words to pour forth in its wondrous creation.

So you start writing, and…shit, what am I doing? Where is this going? Who are these people? My writing is so, something. It’s frustrating, so you give up and wait for the next idea. I’m constantly guilty of this.

But there are good days, too. You write and it just flows and you’re not scrunching your face and pausing and hmmmming. You’ve got a direct line from your thoughts through your fingers to the page and it flows.

At the end of November, regardless of whether you’ve completed the challenge or not, there’s a good chance you’ve got at least a few days’ worth of writing you’re really happy with. Take that, figure out why the rest isn’t working, and start revising. Stories are written in revision, and you can’t start chopping and polishing until you’ve got something to work with, no matter how misshapen. NaNoWriMo gives you that first, faulty draft, an enormous achievement.

The Muse has shit to do, and you do too.

You can’t schedule your best writing. When the muse hits, it’s on their time. Unfortunately, most of us also have things to take care of too. Work, school, family, friends, there’s always something. But it’s amazing what steady progress can do. For one month, turn off the TV, cancel your plans, get done what you need to get done and fill the rest with writing. It’s surprising how much time you can find when you cut out the noise.

Join me!

Follow me on Twitter @danjfinnegan as I blast through this thing or crash and burn in agonizing failure. Better yet, join in and sign up at They’re a nonprofit and the event is entirely free, including plenty of community support and resources. We can throw rocks and jabs at each other as we lose our minds, and who knows, maybe even help each other out.

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.

EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

BEAUTIFUL RIGHTS Gives Women’s Rights Some Real Lip Service

Beautiful Rights is here to give women’s rights some real lip service. This new, cause-driven makeup initiative, founded by renowned makeup artist and product developer, Kristen Therese Leonard, was created to ensure that women’s rights continue to be given their share of voice in our country’s future.

As we enter into 2017, real concerns regarding women’s rights are upon us. Beautiful Rights was created to remind every woman to speak up, and that the responsibility lies within each of us to protect the rights we’ve fought so hard to acquire.

Beautiful Rights will promote women’s rights by donating 20% of all sales (not profits) to organizations that support our causes, such as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Emily’s List, Lambda Legal and Legal Momentum. The 20% contribution is set as a reminder of the fact that women in the U.S. still get paid 20% less than men for doing the same work.

Not only will Beautiful Rights fuel great initiatives, it will also provide women with top-of-line…

Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale Releases March 9, 2017

Aniplex of America Inc. announced today that the nationwide release of the highly anticipated feature film Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will take place on March 9, 2017. Details on theater locations and tickets for the nationwide release will be announced at a later date on the official homepage ( Sword Art Online the Movie -Ordinal Scale- will be distributed by ELEVEN ARTS in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles.
About Sword Art Online: The animated TV series Sword Art Online is based on author Reki Kawahara’s light novel in which the protagonist Kirito fights to survive in the mysterious next-gen VRMMORPG called “Sword Art Online.”
Since the first volume of the novel was published in April 2009, the series has proved extremely popular, with cumulative sales exceeding 12.5 million units in Japan and 19 million worldwide, spawning two TV anime adaptations, video games, comic books, and merchandise.
Story of Sword Art Online the Movie -O…

Summer Survival: Pick the Most Breathable Fabrics

Summer is inching closer, and while we're all psyched for the perpetually warm weather ahead after a tough winter, pretty soon it's inevitable that the heat, humidity and summer sun will leave us feeling, well, less than fresh.

Chrissy Volk, wardrobe consultant for Adahlia Volk has put together a cheat-sheet for navigating through the best, most breatheable fabrics for the season. Who ever looks at clothing "ingredient" listings on the tag - well, this season think of it as your guide to "cool."


COTTON + STRETCH = CUTE BUTT: Cotton jeans are the lightest for summer because they are airy and breathable, however, jeans with a small content of stretch are the most flattering. They will move with your body and it’s movements.BEST DENIM BLENDS: Chrissy suggests denim with a high cotton content, and small synthetic content. A jean with either a 98% cotton/2% lycra or 96 % cotton/4% Lycra fabric, is a good combination. J…

Book Review: "Feel Me Fall" by James Morris

Survival, suspense, fear, love, death and a major plot twist are a few key themes that describe the brand new Young Adult novel, Feel Me Fall, by James Morris. Having read two of his previous books, including Melophobiaand What Lies Within, he definitely succeeds at taking you on a crazy adventure where you can't stop reading as you'll want to find out what happens next. The first few chapters of Feel Me Fall are reminiscent of the classic book, Lord of the Flies, the TV show "LOST," and even the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, where a plane crash in a remote area forces survivor(s) to fend for themselves away from modern day luxuries and civilization. One of the major differences is that Feel Me Fall is centered around high school students, where their teen issues collide with primal survival instincts. 
Unlike Lord of the Flies, which was written in 1957, Feel Me Fall gives a glimpse of today's world where parents and teens dabble in video games, things go viral on …