Guest Post

The Five Stages Of NaNoWriMo Regret

8th November 2017

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-CoverI’m working through all of the stages.  At once.  Here’s a pep-talk  from Christine.



While my blog, I’m Sick And So Are You, is a mere baby in the blog world, I am not a novice blogger. I’ve been around the block, as they say. I’ve had blogs in the past and have scribbled I don’t know how many tens of thousands of words on the walls of this here internet. The one thing I’ve never done as a blogger, though, is participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I’ve thought about it, gone so far as to seriously ponder it. I’ve read about other bloggers’ experiences with it. I’ve researched it. I’ve talked about doing it, but I’ve never just gone ahead and participated in it. It was one of Lorna’s posts, here at Gin & Lemonade, that was the final nail in my NaNoWriMo coffin. She was doing it, so why shouldn’t I? I threw my proverbial hat in the ring and shouted for all to hear, THIS TIME I’M DOING NANOWRIMO!

So, it makes sense that, when I was given the opportunity to write a guest post for Lorna, it would be centered around NaNoWriMo. After all, Lorna is the whole reason why I decided to take part. She’s also the reason why I stupidly told others that I was going to take part instead of just pretending like I never said anything, then leaving the internet for a month, then reappearing in December and pretending that I did indeed write an entire novel. She’s the reason why I can tell you all about NaNoWriMo regret. She, Lorna. It’s all her fault.

Stage 1: Denial

Committing to writing 50,000 words in a month should not be taken lightly. In fact, if you’ve any intelligence at all, your decision should be made while you are swimming in the deep, dark waters of denial. In your head it should go something like this:
Sign me up! NaNoWriMo will give me the push I need to finally write that novel I’ve longed desired to! This is going to be great! And I’m going to do it! I am! At least 1600 words a day, EVERY SINGLE DAY IN NOVEMBER! And then I’m going to get published and win a Pulitzer Prize and solve the world’s hunger problem and find a cure for cancer!

Stage 2: Revelation

In stage 2, three truths will be revealed to you.

1.) 50,000 words is a lot of fucking words.

2.) 30 days is not a long time.

3.) No one besides your blogger friends knows what NaNoWriMo is, nor do they care about the incredible, life altering stress you have just put yourself under. Case in point, the conversation I had with my husband on Day 2:

Husband: What are you doing?

Me: I have to write. I have this NaNoWriMo thing I have to do.

Husband: NaNowhat?

Me: NaNoWriMo. It’s this thing. It’s a thing. You write an entire novel in the month of November. I’m behind.

Husband: Why are you behind? How can you behind?

Me: I only have November. You have to write a certain amount of words a day or you get behind.

Husband: Rushing like that can’t make a good novel.

Me: It’s just a start. Then you have a solid foundation. After November, you edit, add, keep what works, scrap the rest.

Husband: So, you’re not writing an entire novel in the month of November.

Me: *sigh* *eyeroll* No, I suppose not, but I am. I have to.

Husband: Why?

Me: Because I said I would.

Husband: To who?

Me: Other blogger people.

Husband: Oh. Also, they have a bit of marketing problem.

Me: Who?

Husband: NaNoWriMo. It sounds too much like NAMBLA.

Stage 3: Comparison And Abject Self Loathing

Every one that is taking part in NaNoWriMo is writing the exact appropriate amount of life affirming and brilliant words per day with the exception of YOU. And, they are doing this while simultaneously thriving at their high pressure job, raising at least a half dozen children, knitting sweaters for orphans in Ukraine, fostering several rambunctious puppies that need to be bottle fed every 3 hours, and baking pies for the homeless. You suck. You’re hopeless. You’re never going to finish. Quit now, or better yet, move to another country, change your name, and hope no one remembers you said you were going to participate in NaNoWriMo.

Stage 4: Consuming Anger And Excess Snacking

Go out and purchase no less than 12 pairs of elastic waist pants because you are going to be stress eating like nobody’s business. Plus, you need that kind of flexibility in your pants to be able to kick things. You’re going to get kinda pissy. So, basically you’re going to gain a whole bunch of weight from eating all the chips and candy in the whole wide world and then you’re going to have all this energy to feed your rage. Then, you’ll realize you’ve gained all this weight and you’ll get even more angry. That’s when you start kicking stuff. Ya know, the usual, chairs and cabinets and curbs. Fat and bitter, that’s your future.

Stage : Begrudging Acceptance

Once reality sets in, once the gravity of it all bears down on your shoulders and digs its claws into your back, you start to realize that maybe this NaNoWriMo thing isn’t the flaming hell-pit of misery that you thought it might be. Yes, 50, 000 words is a lot of damn words and a month is just a blip in time, but what’s a writer to do? Uh, write?

So even if you don’t get 1600 words a day and at the end of November you’re far from the end of a novel, you wrote something. You got into the glorious habit or daily writing, or even daily thinking about writing. And however many words you write at the end, be it 50 or 50,000, that was more than would have had if you decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo. Like any hard thing in life, yeah it sucks a little, but no matter what happens you’re going to come out the other side a little bit wiser and a little bit stronger and some of us may even have completed a novel as well.


I see what you did there, Christine.  Thanks for the pep-talk.

What stage are you at, groovy readers writers?




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  • Reply duskalert 8th November 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Your conversation with your husband..????

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Lol! Yeah, he’s got good one liners, I’ll give him that.

      • Reply duskalert 8th November 2017 at 2:14 pm

        I second you??

  • Reply emilydev9 8th November 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Nice post and spot on!

    I wrote *nothing* yesterday because I’m still fighting off the (second) lurgy from hell (in a month), including a headache; I can’t write with a headache. But no words on the 7th day feels like less of a dent in my progress than no words on the first day so…

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Well, if it makes you feel better, I had no words on the first day or the second day. I think not on the third either. I’m a wee bit behind.

  • Reply Reflections of an Untidy Mind 8th November 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Wow, 50,000 words! I would never put myself through that sort of misery. My waistline just couldn’t cope. I just published one little blog post and already too much chocolate and coffee was consumed in the process. I’m not sure blogging is good for me.

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:15 pm

      I’ve noticed a severe uptick in my Skittles consumption. Plus, more sitting than usual. This is not going to be good.

  • Reply Embery 8th November 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I’ve watched my saintly husband take part in this ritual for years (he’s decided not to this year for the sake of other projects). I can attest to witnessing most of these stages! As an amateur writer myself, I am always in awe of his perseverance and fortitude. I take him out for dinner at the end of month and we reflect on what he’s accomplished. Kudos to you for doing it! Best of luck!

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:16 pm

      I’m far behind where I should be, but I’ll keep ticking away at it. And will most likely never do it ever again. LOL!

      • Reply Lorna 8th November 2017 at 2:30 pm

        Please keep going. And do it again. The world cares about you and you and your opinions, Christine. 😉

  • Reply Gabi Coatsworth 8th November 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I’m at the Sixth stage: Relief. Did it a few years ago. SFD (shitty first draft) lying in drawer looking silly. But looking back – like childbirth- I’ve forgotten the pain. So maybe next year…

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:17 pm

      Oh! That’s how it works! So, that’s how NaNoWriMo and humanity keeps moving along. We just forget.

  • Reply Becca Barracuda 8th November 2017 at 2:17 pm

    My husband had a similar reaction: “Nano what? What the hell is that?! That sounds ridiculous.” They just don’t get it, those “normal” non-writer folks.

    • Reply Lorna 8th November 2017 at 2:24 pm

      My husband, who is far from normal, but still non-writer, asks me every day, ‘What’s your word-count?’ I’m like, ‘I have two for you, Dearest.’

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 2:50 pm

      I’m glad mine doesn’t get it. Then he’d be asking me about word counts and I’d have to kick him in the shin.

      • Reply Becca Barracuda 8th November 2017 at 3:59 pm

        Good point. Mine is just like, you’re doing great, when really, all I’ve done is stare at the screen for ten minutes and shout about how much I hate writing. ?

  • Reply josypheen 8th November 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Good luck all you NaNoWriMo folks! I am so impressed with all of you!

    I am also impressed that you managed to go through this many stages and we’re only on day 8! There might be a whole load of new things to talk about by the end of the month!!

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 5:25 pm

      I’m pretty sure I go through all the stages every single day, some days I go through a couple of cycles. I’m almost out of Skittles too.

  • Reply becomingcliche 8th November 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I am at the “Screw it all, I’m never going to write again because the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the orange Muppet in the White House is going to make sure we poison the environment, quit educating our kids, and making sure people die of preventable illness, so NOTHING ELSE MATTERS” stage.

    Last night’s election is getting me over the hump, though, so back to writing I go. Good luck! You can do it!

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 9:35 pm

      I’m familiar with that stage. I’ve been there for exactly a year now. Last night was a good night.

  • Reply Ding Dong The Divorce is Done 8th November 2017 at 7:32 pm

    Boy did you nail it!!
    This is why I chose to for go NaNoWriMo this year because for the past two years I’ve fallen short, like way short and then the guilt set it.
    So instead I decided to blog….. a new blog at that. There’s no pressure and the calories I consume are just because I’m storing up for winter.

    • Reply SickChristine 8th November 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Storing up for winter. Now that I’ve moved up north I can actually use that excuse. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Reply loristory 9th November 2017 at 7:11 am

    I’m not writing a novel, just a blog post a day for Nano Poblano (a variant of NaNoWriMo). Figured I’d start out small. But small is big! It’s hard! I wrote 3 or 4 posts ahead of time and now I’ve run out of them and I have to come up with a different topic every day. That might be even more difficult than writing a novel. But it’s such good writing practice. I’m loving it, and I think I’m getting better at it.

  • Reply Danni B 9th November 2017 at 4:46 pm

    I’m at the “oh fuck what did I do whut r werds why why WHY?” phase. No pretty.

  • Reply April Munday 9th November 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I’ve noticed that most people who do Nanowrimo (and I always think of Mork and Mindy when I hear that in my head) talk about numbers of words and not about what it is that they’re writing. I can be impressed, or not, by the former, but I’m far more interested in the latter. I understand that it’s about getting into the habit of writing, but the participants have to be writing something, not just words.

    I hope today was better, Christine.

  • Reply My Spam Cup Runneth Over – I'm Sick and So Are You 10th November 2017 at 12:33 pm

    […] be damn sure I can’t write an entire blog post. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. I did a guest post over at Gin & Lemonade. It was pretty funny, if I do say so myself, and my husband (maybe kinda) deserves a teeny, tiny […]

  • Reply fancypaperblog 3rd July 2018 at 10:12 am

    I truly think I was present for these conversations? I couldn’t even start this. As We speak we speak my four year old is poking my eyeball. Behind my glasses. Not conducive to genius or am I making excuses….

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