2nd Mistake: don’t get cocky
You remember “Star Wars.” Surely you remember “Star Wars.” You remember how “Empire Strikes Back” is the best one, you remember how if George Lucas could set aside his absurd pride for two seconds he would have hired an actual writer to deal with some script-work and that way Episodes I through III would have been entertaining rather than this
Anyway, there’s a scene in A New Hope where Luke, our everyman hero, shoots a Tie Fighter right off of its string and into a fake explosion like a Tatooine womp rat, and Han Solo, being Han Solo, congratulates him by telling him to not get cocky.
Similarly, there came a point in my November novel-writing adventure where I felt like I had force-guided the proton torpedo of my plot into the Death Star’s ventilation shaft of my quote-unquote novel. And I actually thought to myself, or maybe said it out loud depending on how much NyQuil I’d had: “50,000 words isn’t going to be enough. I need more words, this contest can’t contain me.”
So, cockiness breeds complacency. Or, if you prefer: pride cometh before a fall. This I learned.
Because I had (what I thought were) all the tools: a plot of huge scope, a rock-paper-scissors game between the devil and a guy who works at a burger joint, a host of mythical weapons that were going to be used, some surprises, and a giant Golem robot. What else do you need?
The answer to that question is an attitude that’s conducive to actually writing about those things, and when my mindset was “Oh, Hunter, you can go ahead and drink another beer in the shower instead of writing, you prolific son of a gun, that novel’s going to write itself at this point, you saucy minx,” it’s not super hard to see how I ended up not finishing the wrimo.
My point is that it’s tough to do the work when you’re trying to formulate pithy responses to Conan O’Brian’s questions to you about the writing process rather than partaking in the actual writing process.
What Riley Did: this is the segment where I talk about what my roommate, who is better than me at most human endeavors, did.
At no point did he act like NaNoWrimo was at all easier than how hard it is, which is unreasonably difficult. I am confident that his perspective allowed him a greater measure of success than me.