Don’t let Tofurky ruin your NaNoWriMo

image Welcome to a special “post-surgery” edition of Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, when I take the cumulative knowledge gathered from 16 years as a columnist and, much like my male nurse Vern, shave an unfettered path to nuggets of wisdom. It’s a weekly feature the Journal Medicine has heralded as “…writing tips proven to be an effective form of anesthesia…” and what Dr. Oz has endorsed as “…a natural cure for constipated writers. Or writer’s block. Or whatever…”

But enough accolades!

Let’s be honest: No one is going to read this. (And not just because I refered to “nuggets of wisdom.”) Why? Because everyone is busy finishing their own novel this month. Who has time to read about writing tips when they have 10,000 words remaining in their 50,000-word manuscript and a 30-lb. Thanksgiving turkey thawing in the sink? Not to mention that, at this time next week, many NaNoWriMo participants will be following up their day of giving “thanks” by attacking fellow shoppers on Black Friday for the last pair of Walking Dead slippers. What if their fingers get broken during a tussle at Target? Or they get walloped at Walmart? Mauled at Macy’s? Shanked at Sears? Body slammed at Bloomingdales?

You get the idea.

A lot of writers are feeling the pressure to finish their manuscripts before next week because anything can happen once Thanksgiving Day arrives. No one wants to take the chance of being within 500 words of finishing their manuscript, only to have it consumed in a sudden turkey flashover thanks to the combustable nature of aunt Renee’s new whiskey stuffing recipe. And even supposing a writer and their manuscript make it through the holiday unscathed, there’s still Black Friday to get through. Will they make it back safely? Will they make it back without emotional scarring? Will they make it back at ALL? If not, will their family be taken care of?

Or more importantly: Is there a ghostwriter available to finish the novel befor Monday?

Even for writers who have no plan to venture out from their bunker during the zombie apocalypse The Purge Black Friday shopping, there’s still the effects of turkey tryptophan to deal with. Those reserves will be coursing through their veins and can cause drowsiness for as many as three days. And that’s even if they aren’t watching bowling on TV!

“But we’re having Tofurky, so I won’t have to worry about getting sleepy.”

True. But keep in mind you can only spend so much time writing while on the commode.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that NaNoWriMo writers, like my friend Michelle at MamaMickTerry and many others, are in the home stretch — and like any race worth running, it seems toughest right before the finish line. That’s when your legs feel like they have small children attached. And who knows? That may actually be true in some cases, especially if you write from home between laundry loads. Whatever the case, on behalf of those of us who AREN’T participating in NaNoWriMo (It’s official; we took a vote), we’d just like to offer our support and cheer everyone on during the final leg.

Be proud.

Pat yourself on the back.

Reflect on your achievement.

Not NOW! There’s no time!

But the fact that you’ve made it this far is proof that no amount of tryptophan, an exploding turkey or even Black Friday is going to keep you from clearing the final hurdle by Dec. 1.

Just watch out and try not to step in the Tofurky.

(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, will be released this December from Port Hole Publications. You can write to him at, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)

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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

17 thoughts on “Don’t let Tofurky ruin your NaNoWriMo”

  1. Tofurky? That is so wrong on so many levels!! LOL! I will not be finishing my novel this month, but I have a lot of admiration for those who will. I would have to stop my life to be able to write that much and I do not have that luxury! So kudos to those who can and will! Rock on!~

    1. Courtney, reality always plays a part in the goals we set. For example, my goal is to never try Tofurky because it would probably alter my reality.

      And I’m with you about the NaNoWriMoers!

  2. Having already completed my 50K (Canadian words = 0.87 American words) and as a connoisseur of surgically shaved nuggets, I would like to acknowledge your post with a witty comment.

    Instead, and because I have no interest in reading your column (let alone your nuggets), I will merely wish you a happy giving of thanks…in this case, thanks that you fared better than yon bird when placed beneath the knife!

    Peace be on you, your family and your nuggets.

  3. Awww….thanks for the call out, Ned!
    It’s 2:00 p.m. The house is cleaned, turkey purchased and wood cut. I’ve done everything BUT work on my novel today. That said, I poured some diet mountain dew, got the fire going, the music running in the background and your words to inspire. Your encouragement is precisely the reason I’m going to shut down WordPress right now and knock out the last 10K.
    Thank you, my friend!!

  4. WhatTheFurky? Why would someone make something like that?

    I did NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, somehow completed it around a full time job and kids and everything, I was rather pleased with myself. This year I’m even more pleased with myself that I’m not doing it.

    1. Hahaha! Tofu in the shape of a turkey is a thought that haunts me for sure.

      Congrats on last year’s acomplishment in spite of the challenges you faced, and especially this year’s accomplishment of avoiding the challenge altogether 😉

  5. I know this post isn’t meant for me, since I don’t write (at least not in the marathon/novel fashion). For the record, I’m a vegan, and even *I* think Tofurkey should be outlawed at Thanksgiving. I mean, eeeeww!!

    No NaNoWriMo for you this go ’round? Best wishes for all the others who are on the ride! There is no shortage of writing talent on WordPress.

  6. When I first learned about NaNoWriMo, my first thought was NaNoHellNo. That was also every subsequent thought. I’ve never tried it but am in open admiration of those who have, which is also my stance on tofurkey.

No one is watching, I swear...

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