Home > Blog > NaNoWriMo: Martyrdom vs. Trampolines

NaNoWriMo: Martyrdom vs. Trampolines

This is my first year doing National Novel Writing Month and delving into the blogosphere (it’s a real word if The Economist uses it) to get some idea of what to expect, I came across a lot of people freaking out about the anxiety and stress of  it all. It’s day three for me, or should that be DAY THREE? I’m never sure how dramatic to make the whole thing. Sure, it’s a massive undertaking to write 50,000 words from scratch in 30 days. Solving world hunger, sorry WORLD HUNGER, is also a major undertaking but contextually I think we can see that day 3 is probably sufficient. I’m employing hyperbole, obviously, but you see my point.

I’m pretty relaxed about the whole thing myself. So relaxed in fact, that unlike many people, I’m not going to blog every day about the hardships of NaNoWriMo. We live in a land of central heating and electronic writing devices, does no one wonder at these things any more? I’ll blog a few times, just so I can maintain a sophisticated air of smugness about the whole process, but I won’t tell you what particular tea to drink when writing limited third person perspective. Indeed I’ll refrain from anything remotely like that. Essentially I’m relaxed because this is a voluntary project and at the end of it I’ll have a (slightly tatty) manuscript which I’m going to try and sell. Selfishly. NaNoWriMo is not martyrdom, but it is a reasonable slog.  Look at me, on day three, writing in a slightly muddled and acerbic way about ‘the process’. This is 700 words out of my total. Anyway, for what it’s worth here are some words of wisdom on meeting the word totals each day.

I’ve set myself the task of rattling off 20,000 words per week. That works out at roughly 4,000 per day and  Saturday and Sunday off. How marvellous. So it’s day three and I’m sitting on 11,267. Monday was still October so that keeps me roughly on track.

1.  Remember to have fun – Day one involved me writing some 6,000 words and having to physically stop myself writing any more by going to the shops. That was fun, I managed to fit two bottles of chocolate milk, an iceberg lettuce, one bottle of ginger beer, one copy of the Independent, a sprig of spring onions, a tub of coleslaw, a litre of milk, two baking potatoes and a slab of cheese into my jacket. This amazed not only me, but the entire bank of cashiers. That’s probably the most excitement I’ve had all week. Say what you want about NaNoWriMo, the hardest thing is the solitude. I’ll quite happily hand in a 500 word article and hit the pub knowing fine well that I need to do it the next day, but 4,000 words a day , everyday, tends to take its toll. Embrace the little things, you will miss them at 3am when you are crying into an etymological dictionary after two bottles of red wine.

2. Hydrate – My advice is to drink plenty of water. The brain is an organ and as such it needs energy just like the rest of us. Athletes get 30% more out of their muscles by hydrating properly, so why shouldn’t we? Think of your poor fingers! Drink a glass of water right now, go on. Remember: a healthy body means a healthy mind. You will be amazed at how much impact looking after yourself will make to your word counts each day.

3. Exercise – You could also think about going for a walk in the morning, it gets the blood pumping and it means you’ll feel the benefit of a nice jumper and a cup of coffee when you get back inside. If that’s too much time out of your schedule (you’re probably going to have heart problems in later life) then you could consider an indoor trampoline. I’m reliably informed that it’s almost impossible to think about work when you are flipping, falling and bouncing around so it’s surely an excellent method of relaxation. Stretching, morning noon and night, will keep your body in a good mood. Given that, unless you plan on standing up at your desk, you are going to crush your back as you fret your way around massive contradictory plot points (or is that just me?), stretching is essential.

4. Eat healthy – If you can’t get totally psyched about black olives, feta cheese and lettuce, then I pity you.

5. Start smoking – Most people these days think that smoking is a little old school. Now, sure, it’s terrible for your health and runs contrary to every other piece of advice but think about it like this: a lot of publishers smoke, outside, on their own.

I ran out of ideas after number 4, so I’ll leave it at that. Good luck to everyone taking part and I’ll see you on the other side.


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