Don’t let thoughts of Tofurky ruin your NaNoWriMo

image Let’s be honest: No one is going to read this.


Because everyone is busy finishing their own novel this month. Who has time to read about writing tips when they have 20,000 words remaining in their 50,000-word manuscript and a 30-lb. Thanksgiving turkey already thawing in the sink? Not to mention that, in less than two weeks, many NaNoWriMo participants will be following up their day of giving “thanks” by attacking fellow shoppers on Black Friday for the last pair of “The 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 the end of next week because anything can happen once Thanksgiving Day arrives Nov.26. 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, will there be a ghost writer available to finish their manuscript in before Nov.30?!?

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.

That may be true. And for which I am very sorry. 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 willsoon be approaching 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 midnight Nov.30.

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


image(Ned Hickson is a syndicated columnist with News Media Corporation and a member of the writing team at Long Awkward Pause. This has been an excerpt from his upcoming book, Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing: Pearls of Writing Wisdom from 16 Shucking Years as a Columnist. His first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, is available from Port Hole Publications, or Barnes & Noble.)


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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...

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

  1. Wrong, The Nedster, I READ IT. Neither Black Friday nor tryptophan nor the ubiquitous substance known as Tofurkey could keep me away. Wild horses may have had a shot at it, however — I’m a disgusting wuss. Happy T-day, Ned, whatever it looks (feels) like, and don’t spend it all on the commode.

      1. I have never had the challenge of diving into a tofurkey on T-Day, but greater challenges, such as surviving my formative years and eons thereafter in the wilds of treeless southwest Kansas, have bent and curled like aluminum shards in my capable hands. I am Kansas Woman, brave, misguided, and in the end shattered by circumstance but never showing fear, not once. My god, Ned, look what you’ve done — MORE COFFEE!!!!!!!

  2. I have to say I am not a fan of the nanowrimo thing… even though my murder mystery set in World War Two London was mostly conceived during one. Writing a good novel is like this; Take a bundle of 5,000 mile-long strings… (not 5,000 mile long strings)… tie all the ends together in a big knot on one end of all those strings… then give each of the other ends of those strings to 5,000 crack squirrels, and tell them to run trough a mile wide forest… now, all you have to do is drop your big bundle of knots, walk around to the other side of the forest, and gather all 5,000 of the other ends of the strings… and tie them in a nice, neat knot.
    Adding the pressure of an unrealistic time allotment to this process isn’t going to make it any easier to find all the other ends of those stings… it will either make you lose some, or worse, it will cause you to lessen the number of stings… plot lines… in your story. Neither is good.

  3. This post made me smile from start to finish. Despite both being British (therefore having little understanding of Thanksgiving) and not participating in NaNoWriMo, I nonetheless sympathise with and applaud those brave writers who are attemtping the challenge. Your post is hilarious, Ned, and I think your fun style of encouragement is just what those intrepid writers need to keep them going!

    1. I didn’t realize there ere so many ways to make poutine until I started researching my 24-hour Canadian citizenship. Essentially,at its most basic, it is French fries with gravy and cheese. But there’s also poutine burgers and even pizza. Any of which I could swallow versus Tofurkey!

  4. I’m at 14,000 words right now. Since this is my first attempt and my first serious attempt at fiction writing, I’ll be happy to reach 25,000. It would be awesome to hit that 50k, but I’m going to be pragmatic and have a realistic goal in mind.

    Course, if I get decent sleep and end up drinking a gallon of coffee one night while participating in word wars, all bets are off. 50k or bust, yo!

  5. Oh great, reading your blog just caused me to run (OK, stumble) for another beer. That’s really going to help me finish my NaNo tonight (lest I die tomorrow). Seriously, I write better drunk. That should be no surprise.

              1. Hahaha I only know about them because someone I know is getting little ‘shot’ mason glasses for someone as a house warming present. Sound really cute – or is that a ‘girly’ thing to say? :0)

  6. Well, I was planning to use the Thanksgiving weekend to catch up on my NaNo novel, make the final push as it were, but now….I might try the push before then. I mean, suppose there IS a turkey disaster that day? And I don’t even eat turkey!

  7. I am only 16,566 words in.
    “That’s when your legs feel like they have small children attached.”
    At this point, it feels more like two refrigerators strapped onto my back…but, maybe that’s a good thing, right? I have a place to keep the tofurkeys chilled until Thanksgiving 🙂
    (Thanks for the inspiration!)

    1. Chilled tofurkey is probably the only thing more frightening than cooked tofurkey. The only good tofurkey is a dead tofurkey… assuming they can be killed.

      And you’re welcome 😉

  8. Am I really supposed to have a manuscript finished by Thanksgiving? How many hurdles are there in this event? Should I take my turkey out of the freezer now so it will thaw in time? Do people really watch bowling on TV? Omg – I need a Xanax.

  9. I read this as I was making Aunt Renee’s bourbon butter cake with bourbon pecan glaze this morning. That Aunt Renee sure is a whiz with a bottle of cheap hootch.

    Also I think I misread what the “no” in NaNoWriMo stood for. Damn it. Maybe next year.

  10. I lack the skill, talent or drive for NaNoWriMo, which is why I’ve immersed myself in NaBloPoMo.
    And although it’s been a blast, I’ll be glad when it’s over!

  11. I’m a slacker… not participating in the NaNoWriMo or the NaBloPoMo, someone else is cooking the turkey this year AND you couldn’t pay me enough money to go anywhere near a shopping mall, department store, Sams, Wal-Mart yadda yadda yadda! I don’t care if they were giving away 64″ plasma TVs and laptop computers! Those people are Caaarraaazzy! 😛

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