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

NaNoWriMo 2018 Mini-Episode 2

Your Mini-Episode Hosts: Amal El-Mohtar and Maurice Broaddus, with Special Asides from Mary Robinette Kowal

We’re a week in to NaNoWriMo. If you’re scared of it, Amal is here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way, Maurice is here with the encouraging words “consequence-free.”

Homework: Relax! The “rules” of NaNoWriMo are not YOUR rules. If there’s a way you like to write, write that way!

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As transcribed by Mike Barker

[Amal] So, I hear it’s November and NaNoWriMo is happening. I am here to confess to the world that I have never successfully done NaNoWriMo. In fact, I’ve only made the attempt once, and I gave up very early on because all my friends who were doing it seemed to have an ethic of “You just have to write, you just have to write. If it’s terrible, you’re just going to cut it afterwards and it will be fine. You just have to hit 50,000.” That was so completely, completely not the way that I write that I just dropped the whole notion. I am here to tell you that it’s okay to feel that way. All your friends are doing NaNoWriMo, they’re doing this supercool thing, and they’re all cheering each other on. Maybe you are totally by yourself, just being like, “Oh, I wish I could do this thing.” Look. I am here to tell you that… I don’t know, I won a Hugo. I never wrote NaNoWriMo. But hey, that’s okay. It’s cool. I’m fine with it. I’m totally not overcompensating in saying this right now.


[Amal] I’m super okay with not having written NaNoWriMo before. How about you, Maurice?

[Mary] I was going to sit here and be all quiet, and I’m like, “Yeah, this has really hurt your career.”


[Mary] Write the way you write.

[Maurice] And then, on the flipside, I am one for one on NaNoWriMo. I’ve tried it exactly one time…

[Amal] Well done.

[Maurice] It resulted in the first draft of my novel Kingmaker which kicked off my entire career.

[Dan] So, there is that.

[Amal] High five! Yeah!

[Maurice] But, you know what, NaNoWriMo was completely… It was the first time that… It completely freed up my whole writing process. Because, you know what, I couldn’t overthink it. It was just like, hey, you know what, just get words on the page. Get words on the page. Normally, what slows me down in writing is me overthinking the process. But it’s like, you know what, there’s no consequences to this. I can just write. Whatever happens, happens.

[Amal] That is so great. I’m literally in year five of the novel that I’m working on and still have the first sentence. That is how it’s gone for me. Oh, Brandon, you’re so adorable right now.


[Amal] That face you are making is so cute. But, yeah, you write how you write. It’s wonderful to stretch your writing muscles in lots of different directions. But you don’t want to strain them. Sometimes you just… Sometimes the way that you write just doesn’t go in a certain direction. Doesn’t fit a certain mold. That is super, super, super okay.

[Mary] So, listeners, here’s the thing you just need to know. November is about celebrating the fact that you’re a writer. It’s not about trying to write in any particular way. So you’re out of excuses. Go write the way you write.