The calculus of NaNoWriMo

The Romans had their Coliseum. The sick bastards over at The Office of Letters and Light have a little something known as NaNoWriMo.

That stands for National Novel Writing Month.

Letters and Light? Are you kidding me? Euphemism much???

So yeah, obviously they get off on pain and humiliation. It’s a two-pronged approach. How does it work? A little something like this.

First, they issue a challenge to write a “novel” of 50,000 words to be completed within a single month. And yes, because they are sick, they pick a fake month like November, which hath only 30 days. (When counting days you are required to use a word like “hath.” Don’t ask me why.)

Sure, they could have been especially vindictive and made it happen in February, but hey. Let’s give some credit where credit is due. These guys are a little too subtle for that. February? How gauche!

Then they make it sound so easy. They use math for this. 50,000 words divided by 30 days is only 1,667 words a day. That’s scientifically designed to make the small minded among us say, “Hey, that’s not so much. Even I can do that.”

Perhaps. Perhaps.

The second part of their evil plan? They get someone you know and trust to issue you the challenge. Perhaps even someone you call a friend. That makes it personal.

Don’t forget the mathematics of what this challenge really means. Most of us will only realistically write a third of the time. Maybe half if we really knuckle down. Poof! Say goodbye to 15 days. Suddenly your workload to get done on time is 3,333 words per day. Yeah, I can crunch that out occasionally if I’m really feeling ranty in a blog post. But fiction? Nay. That is a much slower process. I think this is starting to push it.

Of course, most of us with full-time jobs and lives will really only write on the weekends. Scratch four more days. Now you’re left with 11 days of productivity and a goal of 4,545 to get done on time.

You see how this is going. The task is nigh impossible.

My opus currently is logged at 682 words written. That means only 49,318 to go. Woot. As I write this there are four days left. That’s only 12,300 words per day.

I give, I give! I sure hope the geniuses at Letters and Light enjoyed watching me fail.

Don’t worry, though. By Wednesday my daily goal will only be 49,318. And the day after that I get to multiply that amount by the square root of negative one and that will result in an imaginary number that’s meaningful to only me. I know because I spend a lot of time there.

6 responses

  1. This is me, bounding away with my tail between my legs! Awr, awr, awr, awr …


    1. Yeah, but 682 words, though. After investing that much of myself I kind of owe it to humanity to finish. I don’t want any bloodbaths over my unfinished manuscripts after I’m dead.


      1. Yeah but think of the mythology man. The next great religion could spring from that blood-soaked soil!


  2. “A friend.” Sounds like a bit of a bitch to me. 🙂


      1. You’re favorite friend is a bitch? I thought you were into cats. 🙂 Meow.


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