|To write a novel you need coffee, a computer, pens, paper, and...a Viking hat?|
Every couple of years I decide I'm going to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The idea is that you write 50,000 words in 30 days because, um, you can? I've actually never paid much attention into the whole "unleash your creativity!" narrative behind the whole thing. I write for money, which usually means keeping my creativity pretty well leashed.
I try it every couple of years instead of every year because I fail miserably, remember my failure the next year, then forget about it the year after that and try again. So here is a list of why NaNo never works for me, to be read by me in 2014:
1. Daylight Savings. Suddenly it's the middle of the night at 4:30 p.m. and hibernation seems like a valid life choice.
2. Illness. At least seven days of every November will be devoted to sniffling on the couch in my bathrobe, sitting on the couch with a sniffling, bathrobe'd Baby Razor, and/or poking the prone form of Mr. Razor while telling him that no, that sniffle is NOT going to kill him.
3. Thanksgiving. Perhaps this holiday is not a drama-bomb for you and yours. Be sure to give thanks for that next Thursday, because my family is still feuding over who's hosting.
4. Christmas. Between Baby Razor and her seven cousins, trying to find something that they like/don't already have/won't cost me a kidney is a part-time job.
5. Alcohol. Look, there are a lot of seasonal beers and I feel like it's my job as a knowledgable drinker to try as many of them as possible, okay?
6. Parenthod. Even after three years, I continually underestimate the effort of stay-at-home parenting. This is an old example, but the current ones range from unfunny to depressing, so here you go:
When Baby Razor was about two-years-old, I got a big freelance project and was debating whether I could do it while taking care of her or if I needed a babysitter. One day I was sitting in the basement working on the project while she happily played by herself and I thought, "Oh yeah, I can totally work and mom at the same time." Then I looked up. My daughter had a) found a pile of cat puke I'd overlooked and b) shoved it in her mouth.
I got a babysitter.
7. I Might Not Want to Write A Novel. I know, that one should probably be at the top of the list. Aren't all writers supposed to want to write a novel, though? I'm starting to wonder. Because it turns out I actually enjoy having other people tell me what to write about, whether it's Etruscan relics or ovarian cancer surgery. I like the resulting checks too. Fifty thousand words and no check? That's just a crappy cost-benefit ratio.
Anyway, my NaNo non-novel was going to be about a 19-year-old starlet in Hollywood having lots of sex and getting really famous. If the fact that I couldn't motivate myself to write about sex and gossip isn't enough proof that I'm never going to be a novelist, I don't know what is.
p.s. I was inspired to try again this year by The Hairpin's Nicole Cliffe, whose novel is going about as well as mine.