Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Mini-Episode 1

Your Mini-Episode Hosts: Brandon, Mary Robinette, Dan, and Howard

Back in 2017 we recorded a bonus episode for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and then forgot to air it. Here, then, in the spirit of never throwing anything away, is a spot of motivation which is both timely AND one year late.

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As transcribed by Mike Barker

Key Points: IT’S NANOWRIMO. WRITE! You can do it! Even if you don’t, you will have more words. Pause, take a drink, and dive in again! Remember why you are writing this! Write for the fun! Point out all the problems, then come up with brilliant solutions to them! Write, then reward (Order is important). Write FIRST!

[Brandon] This is… Hey, it’s NaNoWriMo. It’s November.

[Mary] Yay!

[Dan] Yay, NaNoWriMo.

[Howard] You’re out of excuses, you better already be writing.

[Mary] 30 days long.


[Brandon] We like to pop in every once in a while during the month of November and give you guys some extra encouragement, and a little extra boost as you’re working on your novels, hopefully.

[Mary] Yeah. So we know… Like all of us have done this kind of madness of I’m going to try to write this thing really fast. I have written pretty much all of my novels in the NaNoWriMo mode if…

[Dan] Timeframe?

[Mary] If not actually during NaNoWriMo. So first of all, know that you can do this. And also, I have failed at Nano…


[Mary] So know that if you fail and don’t finish, you haven’t actually failed, because you have more words than when you started.

[Dan] You totally won’t. You can do this. But if you do, [inaudible you’re dead]

[Howard] I want to… I want to give you Maxim 70. Failure is not an option. It is mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do.


[Mary] Yeah. There is a… I just read a Thomas Edison quote where he said… 

[Howard] I haven’t failed yet, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.

[Mary] Right.


[Mary] That, and I was like, “That is a motto for writing and editing.”

[Dan] Yes, and depending on when you are listening to this during the month of NaNoWriMo, you might be dealing with very different obstacles. But whatever they are, take a minute. Take a nice drink of water or something. And then just dive back into it. That’s the…

[Howard] The words, not the water.

[Dan] Best solution every time. You can dive into the water if you want.

[Mary] But come back out. Don’t stay in the water.

[Dan] If you write your entire NaNoWriMo novel underwater, let us know.

[Mary] Yeah. I’m going to offer one piece of practical advice that will work no matter where you are in the process, which is to remember why you are writing this. That you are writing this because it is fun. And just write towards the fun.

[Brandon] Conversely. You might be writing it because it’s good for you. Once in a while, writing is…

[Mary] All right. In that case, just suffer.

[Brandon] Once in a while, writing isn’t fun for me. But having written is always worth it. What you don’t want to become is one of those people who always thinks about how fun it would be to have written, rather than someone who actually works toward being someone who has written something.

[Howard] NaNoWriMo is a good exercise for what it would be like to have a career where I must write at least 1600 words every day. Then you do that for a month.

[Brandon] Yeah. Writing Oathbringer, the Stormlight Archives book which is out this month… 


[Brandon] It was… The first draft was 520,000 words.

[Choking sound]

[Brandon] I wrote around 50,000 words a month for 11 months. So… So, that’s a…

[Dan] So, you think you’re better than me, Brandon?

[Brandon] No.

[Mary] What have you been doing lately, Dan?

[Howard] What did you do that you want to talk about?

[Dan] This… I… I wrote a TV show.

[Mary] Well, then.


[Dan] What about that? I was actually a staff writer for a TV show. The way TV works is that there is a head writer, who in this case was Aaron Johnston, and then there’s a bunch of other writers who sit in a room and tell him that his ideas are bad. That’s not how it actually goes. Although we did often joke that my job in the room was to point out all the problems, and his job was to come up with brilliant solutions to them. But anyway, this show is called Extinct. It’s produced by BYU TV. It is a science fiction TV show about a handful of humans that are brought back to life 400 years after an alien war sweeps across Earth, wipes us all off the map, and then moves on to greener pastures. Someone has decided they’re going to bring humans back. It’s super cool. It launched for normal streaming and viewing and binging in October, and you can watch it online now. We’ll put… 

[Howard] Yeah, we’ll put links in the liner notes. Here… You know what, write your 1600 words and then watch Extinct.

[Mary] Yes.

[Dan] That is your reward. Every day, when you finish.

[Howard] Is it that good? Dan, is it good enough that it’ll be a reward?

[Dan] It is totally good enough.

[Howard] Okay. Cool.

[Mary] And I am actively writing this month along with you, because I have a novel that’s due. So if you want to read along with me as I go, I am taking beta readers, and if you mention that you’re a Writing Excuses fan, over on my website, I will totally give you the keys.

[Dan] But you have to write first.

[Mary] Write first, your writing comes before mine.

[Brandon] All right. So. This has been NaNoWriMo 2017 Writing Excuses. You have no excuses. Go get that writing done.