Write Out of Spite: Dealing with Would-Be Dreamkillers.

For every person who ever told you:

  • “Why don’t you get a real job?”
  • “You know you’re never going to get rich or famous doing that, right?”
  • “You’re wasting your time.”


This came up recently at one of our NaNoWriMo meetups – The fact that many of our writers were getting all kinds of negative comments from friends and family, even spouses! One person said, “Oh, you’re STILL writing? Did you ever publish that other novel you wrote?” When the answer was no, they were confused as to why our friend was still writing. Obviously because she had written one (actually she had written more than one) novel and it had yet to be published, she should just stop writing altogether. Not only is this a very discouraging and hateful thing to say to a writer who may wish to be published, it also discounts any other goal the writer may have. Maybe publishing a novel isn’t the end all be all for that writer… Maybe they just… *gasp* enjoy writing!

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NaNoWriMo Creativity Kicker

Our local National Novel Writing Month group held its annual Creativity Kicker event today at my library! This is probably my favorite pre-NaNo event, and we always have so much fun. This year I had the added bonus of bringing the WriMos into the library where I work, and conducting the event as an official program for the library!

We started the event with a short introduction of ourselves and quickly got into some word games. The following are two different short pieces I wrote today during the word games.

In this one, each participant pulled one word on a slip of paper from each of three different hats: 1) Setting, 2) Object, and 3) Occupation.

In mine, I got: 1) Classroom, 2) Lamp, and 3) Chef

We were given 15 minutes writing time. I came up with a quick and rather unfortunate scene from culinary school:

The classroom lights flickered suddenly, causing Patrick to misjudge his measurement.

“Damn!” He cursed, pouring the extra cake batter back into the large stirring bowl.

“What was that?” asked Sarah, his distractingly hot lab partner. She, not for the first time today, adjusted her flour covered apron in a way that only highlighted her large breasts even more.

Patrick cleared his throat and began to remeasure the batter a second time.

“I don’t know, power’s flickering. Let’s get this done already.”

“Okay, you don’t have to be an ass about it.” She huffed, and Patrick poured the batter once more. In midpour the lights went completely out all at once. He heard batter splosh haphazardly in the now pitch black room.

“Fuck! Are you kidding me?” He shouted, slamming the pitcher down on the lab table.

Chef Roberto grunted from the front of the room, “Now Mr. Rodden, that’s hardly acceptable language for this classroom. I have a battery operated lamp up here somewhere for just such an occasion, let me see if I can’t find it.”

There was a shuffling sound throughout the room and one of the other students squealed suddenly, “Ah! Who’s that, what are you-ahhhhh!” The cry ended abruptly and a commotion spread throughout the room.

Chef Roberto found the lamp and light burst out of it suddenly, illuminating the scene.

Patrick dropped the pitcher he had been clutching in his dough covered hands, and Sarah let out a blood curdling scream.

There were approximately thirty five zombies in the room, and they all looked hungry. Somehow, Patrick didn’t think they had come for the cake.

In this next one, we had to again write for about 15 minutes, and come up with a story using 5 or more of the 8 or so physical objects that were presented to us.

One of the objects was a little stuffed penguin toy who, through some unpleasant series of events, had lost one of his eyes. Another object was a scarf. For some reason when I saw that little penguin and scarf, my brain went immediately to the old cartoon Woody the Woodpecker, and the little penguin Chilly Willy. In the cartoon, Chilly Willy is a happy go lucky little penguin who’s arch nemesis is the grumpy old walrus, i.e. Willy is the Jerry to the Walrus’s Tom, to use another old cartoon as an example. Anyway, another of our random objects was a poker chip bag with the Wild Turkey whiskey logo on it, and this (coupled with the missing eye) prompted a very sad vision of the future for little Willy. So long story short I basically wrote Chilly Willy fanfiction…I regret nothing.

The one-eyed penguin nursed the half empty bottle of Wild Turkey on the table before him and sighed with resignation. He tugged at the scarf about his throat and wondered, not for the first time, how it had all gone so terribly wrong. He glanced about the igloo at the various framed photographs, which reflected the flickering light from the dancing fireplace. The ace bandage on his ankle was itching again, and he bent over in his chair to scratch it. That stupid woodpecker was the one to blame. It was his idea to rob that bank in the first place. He’d never been the same, after that.

“Oh, Willy…” he chided himself out loud, “When are you going to stop blaming other people for all your problems? You got yourself into this mess. You can’t blame Woody for everything.”

The broken, sad penguin got up from the couch and went into the kitchen, grabbing a can opener out of the drawer before popping open his second can of tuna for the day. On his way back to the couch, he stopped to admire one of the old photos framed on his bookshelf. In the photo, a younger, happier version of himself was running over the ice, a fat fish clasped in his mouth and that angry old Walrus hot on his heels. Whatever happened to that old guy? Willy didn’t know. Now that it came to it, he almost missed him. Willy sighed and replaced the picture on its shelf.

Tomorrow he would go out and try to find a job. Tomorrow. But for now he was going to sit in his house, eat some tuna, and drink all his troubles away.

I’m sorry, not only did I just write Chilly Willy fanfic… I just wrote really depressing Chilly Willy fanfic. ….WHATEVA WHATEVA, I DO WHAT I WANT.

Anyway, I had a blast at our Creativity Kicker! If you are doing NaNo this year I highly recommend getting involved with your local group! If you don’t have a local group, start one!

❤ Laura