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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Ore. 97439)