The Wonderment and Exhaustion of National Novel Writing Month

It’s time for another guest post! Today the brilliant and hilarious Briana Hansen writes about the recovery process and how it feels to finish NaNoWriMo! If you’re looking for the intro, Matt Finger introduced us to National Novel Writing Month here. If you like what you read in this post you can check out more from Briana here and follow her on Twitter (trust me, it’s a treat).

The book cover!

The book cover!

As I write this, it’s late in the morning and I’m lazily and slowly convincing myself I need to get up and be productive with my day. I’ve moved pretty slow in the mornings throughout the last couple weeks in December. And part of that is because I’m still recovering from pushing myself hard last November for National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is a great opportunity for anyone who says they think they have a book idea. It’s an online community that connects you with other budding novelists both in your own community and across the word. And throughout the month of November, all of you write your novels. You sit on your tookus. You drink your coffee. And you type your little heart out.

And the NaNoWriMo organization sends encouraging emails and pep talks to remind you you’re not in this alone. There are local groups that meet up and write together. You can really get involved if you want to.

I didn’t get too involved. I just forced myself to get up early every day and write for about and hour. That’s all it took for me. About one hour per day to create the first draft of my novel, Cartoon Confessions. And I vlogged about the experience every day as well to share my journey with whoever wanted to watch it online.

Sure, it was a little time-consuming in my already tight schedule. But it was so worth it.

The hardest part of any creative pursuit is the actual process of doing it. Funny enough, that’s also the easiest part. Once you sit down and let your mind start to go, you’ll find that the words just flow through you. But getting yourself to actually sit down and being protective of your creative time and convincing yourself to do it even when you think you have a thousand other things you need to work on- that’s the hard part.

So now, after a month, I have a first draft of my first novel, Cartoon Confessions. And I am beyond excited. There’s still tons of work to do on the novel- editing, revamping, etc- but that will be easy. I know to just take a little time each day and focus, and eventually that thing will be on bookshelves.

I have a very creative mind and overactive imagination. I get ideas all the time. I have at least ten more novel ideas that are floating in my head right now. I have ten more written on post-it-notes above my desk. I create content all the time. I maintain an active blog. I perform daily. At the same time I was writing Cartoon Confessions, I was wrapping up edits to a 10-episode web series I wrote and am currently working on producing.

So it’s not like I was doing NaNoWriMo to have a creative outlet. I create constantly. I was doing NaNoWriMo for the same reason I run half marathons. To prove to myself that a little bit of training every day can pay off in the end. And, of course, to practice not quitting. So that’s exactly what I did.

And I suggest you do it, too.



Cartoon Confessions is expected in Spring 2014. It is Briana’s first novel. Visit for more information on this and many more of Briana’s creative projects. 

Read it or Skip it: November books!

Ah! Books, books, books and more books! Must be another installment of Read It or Skip It! Here are the books I read in the month of November, a month I dedicated to cleaning out my to-read shelf as much as possible. So, without further ado…

‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson

Read it if you like an old-timey psychological thriller and British literature
Don’t skip it! It’s so short and I was amazed how much I liked it!

‘Sarah’s Key’ by Tatiana de Rosay

Skip it. It’s an interesting premise, but the narrative doesn’t quite deliver. Also, there were certain scenes that really upset me.

‘Gods Behaving Badly’ by Marie Phillips

Read it if you like cheeky twists on Greek mythology
Skip it if you don’t appreciate a dry, British sense of humor or cheesy endings

‘East of Eden’ by John Steinbeck 

Read it because it will make you a better human being. It’s amazing as everyone says.
Don’t skip it.

‘Slam’ by Nick Hornby

Read it if you like Nick Hornby and stories of teenage parents
Skip it if you hate skateboarding or teenage male protagonists

‘Norwegian Wood’ by Haruki Murakami

Read it if you like coming of age stories or always wanted to read Murakami and didn’t know where to start
Skip it if you’re squeamish to sexytimes, suicide, and mental illness

Not as many this month. East of Eden was a challenge, but so worth the time. The holidays are coming up and this gal has already finished all her Christmas shopping, which gives me loads of time to read. 🙂