Sunday, November 22, 2015

How I earned the NaNoWriMo Farting Car badge.

Got your attention, didn't I?

The people who run NaNoWriMo have all sorts of ways to make the 50,000-word trudge more fun. They have in-person meetups and an online chat board, encouraging emails from published authors, t-shirts and mugs and posters and pins. And this year, they've started giving out badges for various things. (Disclaimer: They might have started issuing badges last year, but I skipped NaNo last year so I can't say for sure. Please feel free to set me straight if they did, in fact, start last year.)

The Writing badges are awarded automatically for meeting milestones -- setting up your novel, entering your word count every day, and so on. You can also win Participation badges for things like filling out your profile and donating money to the Office of Letters and Light, which runs NaNo and its affiliated programs.

And then there are the Personal Achievement badges, which you get to award yourself. The achievements are sometimes whimsical, the rules are merely suggestions, and the NaNo Police don't come to your door and demand you relinquish any Personal Achievement badges you claimed but didn't actually earn.

So I thought I'd talk about how I earned a couple of my Personal Achievement badges -- mainly because the other alternative is to talk about the Syrian refugee situation, and when I said I wasn't going to get political on this blog, I meant it.

(Yes, yes, the farting car is coming. Patience, grasshopper.)

So the two purple circles up top are the badges in question. The one featuring the orange vacuum cleaner is the Procrastination badge. "Give yourself this badge if you've put off noveling in new and exciting ways," the rules say. I almost skipped this one, because I don't really consider vacuuming a new and exciting way to avoid writing. Heck, it's practically a truism that if I'm doing housework, it's because there's something else I need to do but want to do even less. However, last night, my daughter Kat and I found ourselves wandering through the grocery store, looking at all the things we could buy to, you know, make Thanksgiving dinner really memorable. Like a jar of Nutella dressed up like a snowman. Or cranberry-and-sage-flavored Triscuits. (I recommend against those, by the way.) I think expeditionary grocery shopping qualifies as a new and exciting way to avoid writing, so I gave myself the badge.

The badge that looks like a game of Pong is the Game On badge. For this one, you have to participate in a word war, dare, or sprint. NaNo has a page on their site dedicated to listing these sorts of things, but Kat and I did our own.

We both signed up for NaNo this year. A couple of weeks ago, Kat mumbled something about a weird noise in her music. (She writes to a soundtrack and I prefer silence, so she uses headphones.) I had just heard a truck make a weird noise on the highway, so I told her it wasn't in her music, it was a truck outside. "It sounded like it was farting," I said.

"We should totally put a farting car in each of our stories," she said.

"Deal," I said.

I wrote mine in yesterday. So when Spider's Lifeline hits the virtual bookshelves in the spring, keep an eye out for that farting car. When you find it, you'll know why it's there. You're welcome.

These moments of badge-winning blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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