How Not to Write a Novel in a Month


Mackenzie Thomas


In honor of NaNoWriMo, I have decided to gift you, dear readers, the key to my success. At the very young age of 20, I have not written four best-selling novels, not gotten 20 short stories published in various respectable journals and magazines, and I have not had a TED Talk on the art of writing. Impressive, I know. Please hold your applause. You may be asking yourself how did she do it? I will tell you in eleven easy steps. If you follow these steps, you too can be as successful as me.


  1. Surf your social media of choice and see all your friends hyping each other up for NaNoWriMo!
  2. Decide that you too have what it takes and join the challenge.
  3. Think of possible characters and plots while doing dishes, but don’t jot down your ideas because your hands are wet. It doesn’t matter because you will definitely remember them!
  4. Forget your ideas for plots and characters.
  5. Realize it’s already been a week into the challenge and you don’t even know where to begin. But, you like the name Sonya for a character! You don’t know which character, but Sonya will definitely appear in the story somehow.
  6. Realize that all this planning is not for you! It would be much more productive and artistic to freewrite (a.k.a “word vomit”) for eight minutes straight. That will get the ballpoint pen rolling. No doubt about it!
  7. Yes! YES! You’re doing it! Look at those words appear in fast and seamless succession. Why were you having such difficulties? Writing is in your blood! You are Stephen King the Writing Machine without the cocaine.
  8. Eight minutes is up. You read through your mind dribble and realize it’s garbage.
  9. That’s okay. Don’t panic. It’s only been two weeks and since you don’t watch TV, you have plenty of free time. You work better under pressure anyway. You just need some inspiration.
  10. Spend your time trying to find said inspiration by reading “How-To” articles just to get in the writing zone.
  11. Never actually write.


Before you know it, it’s been a month and you have successfully not written anything. It’s as simple as that.


Mackenzie Thomas is a staff reader for Blue Mesa Review