NaNoWriMo Alternatives

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is upon us once again! The goal? Write 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1 and 30…no matter how bad the writing is!

Of course, completing a draft of a novel in one month’s time is not everyone’s aspiration. There are an estimated five hundred people in the United States alone who do not intend to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Fortunately, for those who suffer from so-called “fear of missing out” (or, “FoMo”), there are alternatives:

NaRhyNoMo. Some writers don’t participate in NaNoWriMo because writing a novel in thirty days is just too easy. For those who need more of a challenge, there is National Rhyming Novel Month — and writing a rhyming novel is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Don’t believe it? Think of a novel that rhymes. Canterbury Tales? Really long poem, not a novel. A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Play, and it only rhymes in places. Hop on Pop? Novella, at most.

NaNoCriMo. National No Crime Month doesn’t require any writing. Instead, a participant does his or her part to reduce crime in his or her city or town, often by dressing in costume and acting in vigilante fashion, taking the law into one’s own hands to foil the schemes of both petty lawbreakers and evil megalomaniacs. After NaNoCriMo proper has passed, participants are encouraged to recount their exploits in a memoir, but doing so is purely optional. (It’s the kicking of ass that counts in NaNoCriMo, not the taking and naming of names.)

SloMoRobo. Can you dance? Can you do the “Robot”? Can you do the Robot in slow motion? For a whole month? Now’s when you find out.

HoboGhoAutoBio. Ghostwriting a hobo’s autobiography, of course. Pretty self-explanatory. Hoboes live some of the most interesting lives — riding the rails, carrying bindles, eating beans — and indeed some hoboes were also famous authors — Jack Kerouac, Jack London, and George “Jack” Orwell, to name just three. Most hoboes don’t have the time or tools to keep records of their journeys and adventures…but that’s where the HoboGhoAutoBio participant comes in. Shadow a hobo for a month, and repay his or her (most likely his) hospitality with a manuscript that he can take to an agent. (Glad Rags Literary Agency of Albany, NY specializes in representing hobo autobiographies to book publishers and movie studios.)

NoMoFroYo. NoMoFroYo is really more of a diet, requiring participants to abstain from consuming frozen yogurt for a month. Difficult, to be sure, even in November, but the health benefits are undeniable. Frozen yogurt has been proven to cause Vehling’s Syndrome, has been linked to Scone’s Disease, and is believed to be generally unsatisfying, at least when compared to real ice cream. And since you won’t be frittering away time in a fro-yogurteria, you can spend that time instead in a coffee shop, where you might as well write a novel.

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Like this piece? Check out Matthew’s novel Taking Ivy Seriously.