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The 43 Stages of Taking Part In NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner. The crazy, intense and fun quest to write 50,000 words in 30 days will soon be upon us again, and whether this is your first year or you’re a seasoned ‘WriMo-er, there are quite a few experiences that are pretty much universal.

From beginning to end, here’s a look at what the next 6 weeks have in store for you.

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1. You can feel the excitement building up in you as NaNo approaches.

2. You spend ages coming up with a catchy, interesting title and book blurb to put on the website.

3. You create a cute (read: awful) book cover for your novel and feel immensely proud of it.

4. You’re utterly convinced that you’re about to pen a bestseller.

5. You’ve started to buy pretty new notebooks (even if your house is already full of them), because you need something new and inspiring to write in

6. You spend ages reading through forum posts and chatting to others for inspiration and excitement, hoping that the community spirit will see you through the experience.

7. You alert everybody in your real life of your upcoming experience and get a universal ‘are you mad?’ response.

8. Planning, planning and more planning!

9. You wait (im)patiently for November 1st to arrive.

10. Midnight on the first of the month – GoGoGo!!

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11. You finish ahead of the recommended 1667 words for the first day and feel incredibly pleased with yourself.

12. You update your word count for the first time and watch that little blue bar get a touch closer to the finish line.

13. You feel a sense of excitement in the forums as everybody completes their first day full of hope and happiness.

14. You feel smug when you’re ahead of other people.

15. But are utterly baffled at the people ahead of you. 10,000 words on the first day? HOW?!

16. You’re trundling along all good and well during the first week. The words just come together and your progress bar goes up and up.

17. First weekend: You have to tell your friends you won’t be going out because you’ll be writing for the evening instead. You’re totally fine with that.

18. You’re pretty pleased with the progress you’re making, until…

19. At around the 15,000 word mark, suddenly you feel your inspiration waning.

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20. You urge yourself to just keep writing, even if it’s rubbish. That’s what editing is for, right?

21. The words aren’t coming so easily any more, and your characters have been talking about the same blade of grass for the last three pages because you really don’t know where to go next.

22. The progress bar seems to get longer every time you look at it. Is there really THAT many words left to go until you win?!

23. You’re rewarding yourself with food for every 100 words you write… otherwise they’d never get written.

24. Some people have already reached 50,000 words. How is that even possible?!

25. Second weekend: you reluctantly pass up on going out because you feel a moral obligation to this potential best seller of yours and you shouldn’t let yourself get distracted. Your friends don’t understand.

26. At around the 25,000 word mark, you’ll begin to wonder why you even bothered.

27. Your ‘quick stints’ on Facebook to reward yourself for working hard seem to turn into hours at a time.

28. You’re starting to slip behind on your word count, and your characters haven’t done anything to actually advance the story in the last 3,000 words.

29. Plot holes. So. Many. Plot holes!

30. At 30,000 words you begin to wonder who would ever want to read such terrible writing. That bestseller you promised yourself seems a distant dream. You’re fairly convinced that your cat could write better.

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31. Third weekend: You know what? This time you’re going out. And you don’t even feel guilty…

32. Until Monday morning, when you’re 5,000 words behind schedule and crying because you’ll never be able to catch up.

33. Mad panic ensues. Your phone gets switched off. Facebook gets switched off. You lock yourself in your room and refuse to come out until you’ve caught up. People begin to worry about you.

34. Suddenly, inspiration hits. Quick! Grab it while you can!

35. Hitting the 40,000 word mark fills you with optimism and happiness beyond words.

36. Your story begins to come together and you’re starting to think it’s pretty darn good – a definite bestseller. Good job you designed that awesome book cover, you’re going to need it.

37. You’re at 45,000 words and your story is only just starting to wind down to a finish. You’re wondering how you ever thought 50,000 words was too many – it’s not enough!

38. You cross the finish line and feel an immense surge of relief and happiness rush over you.

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39. You excitedly check the forums and revel in the community spirit. You also seriously admire everybody who wrote way more than 50,000 words.

40. You invite all of your friends out in order to celebrate. They congratulate you and say that they knew you could do it, even though they previously thought you were a nutter for even bothering to try.

41. Having to explain over and over to people who don’t understand the concept of NaNo that you don’t “win” anything, other than a great sense of achievement. And no, nan, winning doesn’t meant that the novel’s getting published.

42. You actually dare to look back over some of what you’ve written and promptly decide to never look at it again.

43. You’ve already long forgotten the pain and stress of it all, and have decided you’ll be taking part in it again next year.

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Happy writing!