Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Warming Up for the Marathon by Jonathan Stoffel

I'm stretching! I'm READY!!! (funnydogsite)

The cool wind nips at your face, and you look around at the cheering crowd. The news crew is here to cover the story, and you can sense the tingling excitement in the air as the charity event is about to begin. You know that this is your time to win, your time to be a success.

This time, you will finish.

The runners nearby have begun stretching, so you decide to lean down on your legs a bit as well. Ouch! They're tight as drums. How do those others bend so far?

The announcer calls for everyone to prepare, and your stomach gurgles in response. Maybe you shouldn't have stopped at that restaurant offering "Burritos As Big As Your Head" on the way here... though you only had two.

The starting gun cracks, and as you sprint forward, the other runners begin to move past you. Your lungs burn and your legs seize.

This is not the glorious marathon you pictured last month.

Anyone who thinks to succeed in a race such as this should never expect to do so without training, and what is NaNoWriMo but a writing marathon? In order to meet the demanding goal of 50,000 words in one month, one must write approximately 1,666 words per day. If you have not already been writing on a daily basis, making that jump can be difficult at best, and can break your spirit at worst.

In order to prepare for NaNoWriMo, spend the month of October writing each day.

You may work your way up to the necessary word goals, increasing by a set increment each day or week. Also, you don't necessarily need to work on a novel this month. Break out some short stories that you've had kicking around the ol' brain bucket! Poetry or other short works may not be as constructive for preparing your mind for the task at hand, but if that's what it takes to get you going, try those at first.

The point is to get you warmed up for the long haul, instead of jumping into it unprepared.

In addition to your writing, spend at least a few minutes each day chewing on your ideas for your NaNoWriMo project. While you are to wait for word one until November 1st, prep work can and should be done beforehand. If this leaves you any time to make a rough plan for how to approach November, that could certainly help, too!

With the proper approach, NaNoWriMo, though occasionally intimidating, is doable. It's like many of us learned in science class: you can't toss a frog into boiling water, but slowly heat up the water it's in, and it will boil without moving. Now, that's not to say that your writing mind is a sucker who will just enjoy its jacuzzi experience unto death... not every metaphor is perfect, okay?

Give yourself a fair chance.

Stretch and train every day, and the long term goals will be attainable.

That is all.

Are you warming up for Novemver? How are your boiled frogs coming along?

Jonathan Stoffel has been a writer-in-spirit all of his life, and finally broke down and accepted this within the last year. This has been both a boon and a detriment to his sanity. He has committed to letting the words flow, and does his best to encourage others who feel they should do the same. Jonathan has nearly finished drafting his first novel, in preparation for NaNoWriMo. He also recently christened a new blog, Inspirandomonium, to discuss writing, life, music, and whatever happens to float across his consciousness as the posts are created. You may find Jonathan on Twitter, @Jon_Stoffel, and his loving wife also created a Facebook page for his author-ly glee.

His username on the NaNoWriMo site is Stoffelophagus.


  1. Okay, first of all, this picture you put up SLAYED ME. LOL!!!! Awesome. Second, good on ya for taking this on. Newbie, you'll do fine!!! Third, you make an excellent point. Warming up by practicing writing every day in October happens to be a solid idea. I better get on that. I usually jump in on Nov.1st bursting at the seams, kind of like a groom who hasn't slept with his bride for the whole week before the wedding night, know what I mean? Practicing for NaNo is a great idea. Wishing you luck! You know I'll be around with my sparkly pompoms, cheering you on! :)

  2. *snort* I spilled my coffee, woman!!! And omg, Jen. Only a TRUE head-cheerleader can liken the NaNo experience to a honeymoon. LOVE IT! Oh and I think if you prepare nothing, not even the story idea, it's be like sleeping with your bride for the first time EVA. Just saying. Bad idea. :D

  3. Jonathan Stoffel12 October 2011 at 13:06

    My wife and I worked hard on that picture, so I'm glad it turned out =) As far as preparation goes, I knew I wouldn't be able to make the jump to NaNo standards right away, and the prep time has me feeling a LOT more confident that I'll be able to keep up.

    I'm with Lyn on the... intriguing parallel you've drawn. Perhaps finishing NaNoWriMo will be like a second honeymoon? Likely, not the case, but still, I'm already pretty happy, and I haven't even done it yet. (Though, in defense of the simile, I was already happy about the marriage before it officially happened, so...)

  4. Post...Great! Picture...FANTASTIC!! Well done my friend, well done *slow clapping*
    (Write Me Happy)

  5. I'm gearing up. I think I'm ready...I'm sure I'm ready, but there is a small part of me that wants to go hide under my blankey. Haha!

    Good luck to everyone amazing enough and crazy enough to take on the challenge. :-)

  6. I've been writing frantically this month! Mostly on last year's novel I wrote though. I'm hoping that doesn't wipe me out when November arrives. I have this huge idea so I'm hoping it doesn't dramatically flop.

  7. We're all here to encourage (and bug) one another! Just keep at it, and I think we can keep dramatic flops to a minimum :)

  8. That's okay. The great part of the community is that we're here to RIP THAT BLANKEY AWAY! Hurrah! Y'know. Because we care :)

  9. Finally! Someone gave me the slow clap for which I was looking. *checks box on list*

  10. I feel naked without the blanky, but I'm ready. Thanks for psyching me up for battle!

  11. You both crack me up. :)

    Actually, I was comparing going into NaNo when having held back writing your idea to that feeling the groom-to-be has... so... well... I was likening waiting to start writing until Nov.1st to that heavy sexual tension, that feeling of "Oh my Goooood, I have to do this NOW. Like, right now. Or I'm going to explode."

    Yes, FINISHING NaNo is like the honeymoon. The "ahhhh, I made it" feeling after the chaos of preparing for the wedding and then, well, consummating the marriage. Oh boy. Um...

    Well, that's all a bit lewd, perhaps. But so am I. Which is one of the more fun aspects I bring to being this team's Head Cheerleader. ;)

  12. *cof* ahem. Yes.

    SOME of us may have been trying to draw the reader's attention away from that :)

    Er... GO TEAM!

  13. I only give them out when I deem appropriate! You should feel special :)