The Magnificent Thirty (Days): NaNoWriMo’s A-Comin’, and I’m Madder’n a Scorpion with a Sunburn

See the tumbleweeds rollin’ down the street, and the sun glintin’ off my spurs?

All the decent folks done run indoors and locked their shutters, Clint Eastwood’s whistlin’ the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and my writin’ hand’s twitchin’ by my holster, ready to draw in the wink of an eye.

‘Cause NaNoWriMo’s about to blow into town, and it’s showdown time.

Those of you’ve met NaNo yourselves know it’s one loco critter, intoxicatin’ as moonshine one minute, mean as a rattlesnake the next. It comes looking for writers, gets up toe to toe with ‘em, spits in the dirt by their boot-heels, and says, “Hey, there, cowboy, bet ya can’t write 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days, starting November 1 and ending at midnight on November 30th.”

And you know it’s just the most damned fool idea anybody’s ever had, but there’s somethin’ in the crazy glint in NaNo’s eyes gets you thinkin’, “Hell, yeah, I can. I’m gonna write me them 50,000 new words in one month. Or I’m a-gonna die tryin’.”

And after that, there’s no turnin’ back.

Me and NaNo met three times before, in the Novembers of 2009, 2010, and 2011. First two times, I showed NaNo who’s boss, wrote my fifty-one thousand words, and they carried NaNoWriMo outta town on a stretcher. I got pretty cocky, I’ll admit it. Even wrote a couple blog posts givin’ people advice (here and here)  on how to beat NaNo for theirselves.

But last year, that loco critter got the better of me.

I got hit with a bad case of anemia, and the day-job had me pullin’ all-nighters, and though I made it to 44,479 words by November 29 and thought I saw my way clear to another victory on that last evenin’….I just plain fell asleep on November 30 instead of stayin’ up and writin’ them final 5,000-somethin’ words.  (Yeah, it was humiliatin’. You can read all about it here.)

Well, dagnabit.

But now I’m fightin’ mad, and NaNoWriMo better watch its back. Ain’t gonna be no unauthorized sleepin’ on my watch this time. 50,000 words in 30 days, you’re mine. My laptop’s primed and loaded and I’m brewin’ a pot o’ coffee big as the Rio Grande.

Who’s with me? I say that NaNo sucker’s going down in 2012. (Sign yerself up at An’ grab yer coffee mug, ’cause if ya leave a comment sayin’ yer gonna sign up, I’ll put ya in a random drawin’ to win a $10 Starbucks gift card.)

53 Responses to “The Magnificent Thirty (Days): NaNoWriMo’s A-Comin’, and I’m Madder’n a Scorpion with a Sunburn”

  1. Oh, this is a hilarious post. I did sign up for NaNo for the first time ever. Hopefully I can “win”. I’ve done two 90k+ novels, each in their own one-month period, so hopefully I can do this on a schedule too. We shall see!

  2. Well, now, howdy, pretty lady! That there was a mighty fine post! I’ll be cheering you on all the way to the 50K mark.

    I’ve NaNo’d twice before. I got to 50K the first time around. The following year, I had a goal to write 20K in November because I knew the day job was going to be full of craziness. I exceeded that total, so yay! This year… Hmm, I do have a WIP, but I’m not sure about doing NaNo again. I’ll probably decide at the last minute!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Howdy right back at ya!

      I think it’s fine usin’ NaNo however you can make it work for you–and it’s a good way to churn out somethin’ in the fall, when the darker days can make everythin’ slow down.

      I hope you go for it!

  3. Rita Henuber says:

    Nope. Not me. I’ll be here cheerin everbody on.

  4. Jenn! says:

    LOL! Great post, Elisa.
    I’m a NaNoer. But my goals have never been 50K. I know my limitations and having young-uns ’round makes it all the more challenging. So in the past, I’ve set a much lower goal. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick on the draw. Even with the lower goal, out of the three times I’ve participated, I’ve only walked away from the fight a winner once. That NaNo is a booger bear. LOL!

    And because I’m a sadomasochist, I’ll be doing Nano again this year.

    See y’all there. :-)


  5. As crazy as NaNo month is, it’s also some of the most exhilarating writing time I’ve ever experienced. (I think it’s because it finally got me to shut off my inner editor.)

    And even though it kicked my butt last year, too, I’ll channel the me that ‘won’ it in 2010. Because I have knock out 50k if I have any hope of entering the Golden Heart this year.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      I’ll share my coffee with ya…

      And we all gotta remember, the Golden Heart deadline’s not till January this year, so we draft in November, and still got all a’ December for polishin’.

      It’s gonna be beautiful.

  6. Greta says:

    Okay, I’m in. (I want to do continuing work on an ms I’ve already started.)

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yee-haaa, Greta! Glad to hear it!

      I know NaNo’s supposed to be about startin’ somethin’ brand new, but I think it’s a great time to FINISH a book as well.

      Good luck to ya!

      • Greta says:

        Thanks, Elisa.

        I had to put that note in since I won’t be doing it straight NaNoWriMo style. Um, let’s see. This little cowgirl will be ridin a bull she’s already on speakin terms with? Yeah, that sounds right. :)

  7. Kate Parker says:

    I’ll be writing for the first half of November, but then I’ll be traveling to the European Christmas markets and won’t have a computer with me. I say, snag the opportunities as they come, and do more writing in January. There’s always our Winter Writing Festival!

    I’ll cheer you all on while drinking hot mulled wine and eating all those wonderful pastries.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Oh, that’s right!

      The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival will be here before we know it!

      Mark yer calendars, pardners: the Opening Festival’ll be January 10, 2013.

  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    I don’t NaNo, but I’ll be out here cheering everyone on as you rack up the wordcount!

    Speaking of cheering everyone on: RITA registration opens today! This year’s contest uses a tiered/preferred registration structure, with those who volunteered to judge the contest getting to enter first via an online system at myRWA. It felt good to get that email acknowledgment that CHASE ME is officially entered!

    Ever the technologist, I found a non-showstopper bug that I’ll report to RWA National after the Day One Dust clears. ;-)

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Right glad you mentioned the Rita’s opening!!! Good luck to CHASE ME!!!

      Golden Heart doesn’t open for entries till one month from today. All the new rules are goin’ to be interestin’….we’ll see how they play out.

  9. Addison Fox says:


    What a fun post! I’ve never formally done NANO but love hearing all the great posts from everyone. Sending big cheers and good vibes to all!


    • Elisa Beatty says:

      A big thank ya to ya, ma’am, for the promise o’cheerin’.

      An’ mebbe ya outta think about givin’ a try sometime. It’s amazin’ what ya can crank out in just a month.

  10. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Cute post, Elisa. Wish I could join you in roundin’ up that varmint, but woe is me, I’m going to be on a cruise during one of the weeks of November. Yeah, I know you’re crying big tears for me. Maybe next year! :)

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Ah, well, sometimes ya gotta make sacrifices, Miz Laurie. Have fun on yer cruise, and raise a drink or two in honor a’those of us NaNo-in’ like fools.

  11. Kelley says:

    Well, hey there, Miss Elisa. I’d love to do me some Nano but that critter scares the bloomin daylights outta me. Maybe in a week or two, I’ll be ready to face the ole monster – after a strong dose of whiskey from the saloon. ;) if so, I’ll be lookin for us. If not, I’ll be cheering you on.

    Great post, lovely lady.

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      Yup…sometimes a good dose o’ rot-gut is what it takes to git started. I knows you can do it, Kelley!!! (And if yer continuin’ on with that Make It Golden entry, I WANT TO READ MORE, so I’ll cheer ya on!!)

  12. Gwyn says:

    Never done NaNo before, but givin’ it some serious thought this year. Book three ain’t a-gonna write itself, and time she’s a wastin’! I know I can pound the tar out of that ornery critter–once did 30K in a week–but this old cowgirl ain’t what she used to be, so it could prove an epic battle this time. Still, love me a good fight, so we’ll see.

  13. Go git ‘em, Elisa!

    I’ve done NaNo for the last three or four years, and I think I didn’t meet the 50k one time out of those. I wasn’t going to sign up this year, mainly because my goal is to have this 90k rough draft done by Nov. 2nd so I can work on edits…and I’ve got family coming for 11 of November’s 30 days. But there’s always another project I could work on. Hmmm….

    Will have to think on it, fer sure. ;) Good luck to all who enter!!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      We’d love to have ya out on the NaNo trail with us, Anne Marie!! I say saddle up and get that new dogie branded (or, um, whatever it is one does with dogies.)

  14. I’m doing it. I have equally strong and completely opposite feelings about the whole thing, but I’m doing it. I’ve “finished” by getting board of my NaNo project and moving onto something else and then hitting the target on #2 and leaving #1 out to dry. Crazy times. This year I’m doing the NaNo smackdown Savvy Authors is doing with Entangled editors and I am sooo excited.

  15. Shoshana Brown says:

    I tried NaNo once. It didn’t go well…just doesn’t quite mesh with my writing style. But I’ll be cheering you on, Elisa–you’re gonna beat ‘im this year!

  16. Phyllis says:

    I didn’t know Yosemite Sam could write ;)

    I’m a longtime Nano fan. YEEEHAW!

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      LOL, Phyllis…too bad I’m not fixin’ to write a Western this time (or maybe it’s a very, very good thing). I’ll find my Regency voice again by Nov 1.

  17. Fun post! And yes, I’m probably crazy, but I will be NaNo-ing this year. I’m hoping to take a more strategic approach, using an outline instead of flying by the seat of my pants. And I still need to finish up another project, so I’ll be juggling the two…which makes me go…yeah, we’ll see how it goes. :)

    • Elisa Beatty says:

      WOO-HOO!!! I’m right glad to hear it, Miz Cynthia!

      I’m a-tryin’ to have an outline ready myself so I have a list o’scenes I can choose from on any given night. An’ I think havin’ a couple o’ projects going at once is smart. That way you can just jump on whatever ya feel inspired to do on any given night.

      Long as ya end up with NEW WORDS by Nov 30, I think yer a success.

  18. Keely says:

    I’m circling the wagons and preparing to fend off all distractions so I can rustle me up a NaNo win this year! Long live the insanity!

  19. Hope Ramsay says:

    Ha ha ha!

    Well, I may not be eligible to do Nano, because I’ve already started the book. But here’s the situation: I’ve got to turn in 90K words on December 1. As of this moment I have about 20K. So, NaNo or not, I’ll be writing close to 50K in November if I don’t do something quick and put my butt in the chair.

  20. Too funny, Elisa! I’m just finishing up a book and so I’m planning on showing up at the party! Woohoo!!

  21. I’ve never done Nano. It’s not the best month since we seem to have a family birthday every other day, so I will be cheering you on. I will however be working on my next RS which I’m 30 K and hopefully get another 30K. Good luck, everyone!

  22. Nearly drowned in my tea reading this, Elisa! TOO FUNNY! And I have never done Na No before, but I am SERIOUSLY considered it as I need something to kick me into the home stretch on the book I want to enter in the Golden Heart. This may be just the hombre to rustle me up and get me across the border!!

  23. I’ve never had the opportunity to make NaNo’s acquaintance before, but I am sorely tempted this year. There is a novella dancing about the back of my brain that needs to be drawn out.

    I do believe you’ve convinced me. I’ll sign up, but I’ll take the precaution of keeping my smelling salts nearby if this become a trifle unseemly.

    Thank you for the absolutely hilarious post!

  24. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks t’the good graces o’, I done picked a winner. It’s KEELY!!!

    YA-HOO!! I really meant it when I said my coffee was yer coffee. I’ll be sending along an email right quick.

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  26. […] NaNo twice in the past, I came in with a wee bit too much hubris last year (witness hubris post here) and then got sick and fell […]

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