Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Identifying and treating a loved one suffering from...NaNoWriMo

by Maureen L. Bonatch 

Dear abandoned non-writer, 

I've received your recent inquiry about the odd behavior of your loved one. It's understood that you use the term 'odd behavior' loosely, as you've come to accept the many unusual characteristics displayed by a loved one who is a...writer.
The symptoms you describe are indeed disturbing, but after a glance at the calendar, I believe I may have found the diagnosis...and the cure. 

I believe your loved one may suffer from...NaNoWriMo! 

Please don't become upset over the unusual term, it's really just an abbreviation for the more cumbersome title, National Novel Writing Month. The good news is that it only lasts for the month of November. Your loved one should return to their normal self—though exhausted, depleted, and often exhilarated—come the start of December. 

Please review this partial list of symptoms to confirm this diagnosis for yourself to see if it does indeed, match your loved one's odd behavior which has become even more...unusual.  


  • Mutters things they claim to be the 'ramblings of characters' (Don't try to commit them yet)
  • A vast increase in their caffeine consumption (Don't point out how shaking makes typing harder)
  • Reducing their hours of sleep to 'get their words in' (Brings a whole new meaning to the walking dead)
  • Began carrying around a laptop to tap away on during all free hours of the day 
  • Started decorating the home office with sticky notes scrawled with illegible partial sentences
  • Stares off into space for long periods of time and claim they are 'working on their story' when they don't hear your repeated questions (This isn't the time to recommend a hearing test)
  • Neglecting basic household tasks (Mentioning Halloween is over so the spiderwebs can go will only anger them- if they hear you say it)
  • Insists leftovers, or sandwiches, make the best meals (Just eat it and smile- or they might write you into their story just to kill you off)
The list of symptoms continues, but basically your loved one is no longer 'there' most of the day. They've 'left' to immerse themselves into their story. Don't try to fight it, or question the rewards of this sacrifice, your writer knows what they are and the lure is more intoxicating than any cult...they can't resist.


  • Toss pieces of chocolate at your loved one if they snarl out acronyms like GMC, HEA or WIP
  • Don't point out their reduced hygiene or dark circles forming under their eyes (see above)
  • Offer to make dinner...or better yet, household chores—because everyone loves clean underwear
  • Read a book and escape into your own fantasy world
  • Suggest a trip to the mall or coffee shop for inspiration for character quirks (ensure you have a tablet  and a pen or you may be forced to seek out napkins & alternate writing utensils)
  • If all else fails...avoid them until December
Remind yourself that this one month will bring your loved one a great sense of accomplishment and...a new story for the world.

Because there are never enough stories

Good Luck,

The Word Whisperer

Learn more about NaNoWriMo

Do you or your loved ones suffer from NaNo? If so, what remedies would you like to share?

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Maureen L. Bonatch's stories boast laughter, light suspense and something magical in the hope of sharing her love of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary world.    

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Carol LaGatta said...

This is awesome! I think I may have a couple of those symptoms. LOL

Maureen said...

Thanks for visiting Carol. Good luck with NaNo!!

Diane Burton said...

Hilarious post, Maureen. Even though I'm not doing NaNo, I've been known to exhibit some of those symptoms. Hubs just shakes his head and leaves me alone. :) Good luck to all those doing NaNo.

Maureen said...

Thanks Diane!