Is It Cheating to Start NaNoWriMo in October?

Is it cheating to start NaNoWriMo in October? Technically, I’d be cheating anyway since I’d be working on my same old project. But I want to use the momentum from NaNoWriMo to propel me forward, and get me to finish. National Novel Writing Month, if you live under a writerly-shaped rock.

I need to finish. I need to finish and rewrite bits of it. I need to polish it up. And then I’m going to self-publish it on Amazon. Depending on how bad it is it turns out, I might publish under a pseudonym. That might be kind of fun, actually, to create a writer persona who isn’t me. There could be Boring Jessica, Underemployed Mother of One on one end of the mat. And then there could be Nom de Plumaged Mystery Writer on the other end of the mat, exuding, you know, an air of mystery and stuff. No one would know that in real life, I smell like my child’s toes, I can’t pay my bills, I have no dress sense (well, maybe a little), and I absolutely hate fussing with my hair. My Mystery Writer Persona, on the other hand, would be gardenia-scented and severely coiffed. Her red lipstick would always be touched up, and she would show off her killer legs in some retro pumps.

My persona's going to be Louise Brooks. Bad. Ass.

She might even wear contacts! She would definitely get her glasses fixed so they would not sit awkward and crooked on her rather substantial nose. Well, I think it’s substantial. Maybe I’m just staring at it because my glasses are crooked.

I’ve gone off the rails. I was talking about NaNoWriMo. My old weekly goal was ten pages a week, which worked for a good number of weeks, but lately I’ve found reasons here and there not to meet it. Sometimes the reasons are valid, like I started a new school year, and that’s always crazy. Or I’m too depressed to set pen to paper– which is kind of valid and kind of not, to be realistic. And if I give the depression a chance to settle in, I start to doubt that I should be writing at all, and I tell myself to just screw it, and I set my notebook aside on purpose.

True Confession Time: I started my latest project over because I lost my notebook. All my notebooks look alike, because they are all yellow legal pads. I’d set it aside in a fit of depression, and when the fog had lifted, I didn’t know where the correct yellow legal pad had got to. What I’d thought was the right one turned out, to my horror, to be full of old teaching notes! In a panic, I restarted what I’d been writing. I think it turned out better, actually, but I’m still a little miffed that I lost so much time.

I’m thinking of typing Thing 2 (that’s not the real working title, silly) out, but our computer is ancient. You can’t tell, but right now I’m pressing a stylus into clay and somehow it’s getting digitally transferred. That’s how old this thing is. Really, though, it’s never been the same since I accidentally helped spill an entire jar of loquat jam onto the keyboard. So, it’s old and injured.

I don’t trust our poor little Apple enough to involve extra steps of saving from Word to email. I do like how WordPress saves automatically, so I might create a private blog and just save chapters on there, like a modified cloud drive. Some feedback from anybody who reads this would be awesome. Does anybody read this? If you are reading this, you probably looked up “Mikael Simpson” or “Sleep Party People” since that’s where most of my hits come from. Also, some people seem obsessed with that beard chart from a few weeks ago. I seriously doubt anybody actually comes here for me! But on the off chance, feedback would be nice. HOW DO YOU SAVE YOUR STUFF? Just so we’re clear.

Amazon's Cloud Drive

Last week, I made a sourdough starter, and in true Mysterious Mystery Writer form, I killed it. I killed it dead. I did this last time I tried, too. I’m going to try it one more time, and then I’m going to go out and buy a baguette. This is why I bought a bread machine– because left to my own devices, I am a Yeast Killer. Even yeast from a jar can’t survive me. So maybe I should keep on writing my mystery after all, right?

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2 thoughts on “Is It Cheating to Start NaNoWriMo in October?

  1. my daily goal is four pages or 1000 words. As for cheating getting a running start, i believe the intent of the contest is to finish a novel. Its kind of like a marathon Its not how fast you finish… its that you start, make the attempt and plan to finish

    For my own personal marathons, finishing in a month is a challenge that I could not take. However, once i start the race, I do finish.

  2. That’s commendable that you always finish the race! I, on the other hand, start the race, get distracted by a pretty butterfly fluttering about a bush, stop to examine a puddle, talk to the people handing out the Dixie cups of water– and then start a whole new race. : )

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