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BY JOEY HAGER Palm Harbor University High


It just wasn't meant to be.

A string of rough weeks prevented Elephant Poop from moving past its first chapter, but the idea remains. Maybe the next break, or the one after that, but for now, EP goes on the back burner.

Special shout-out to Emma Profit, a fellow IB senior who slaved for all 30 days and reached 50K with her third NaNo attempt, Moths. She lost a lot of sleep to pump that sucker out, a sacrifice I was not willing to make.

Congrats to all who participated, and a special pat on the back to those who reached the finish line. It's an achievement many will never experience in their lives, and you did it before you graduated high school. Even if you don't finish it until December, read it in January and despise every word on the page, you still reached an incredible achievement and I applaud you 10-fold. Ya done good, friends. Ya done good.


November got really goofy this year.

NaNoWriMo seems to have come at the worst possible time on the Hager front, in so many ways. I started the month behind, and have continued to drop farther and farther back as the days turn to nights and the daily word-count goal, by necessity, grows almost as fast as my morale deteriorates.

School got in the way. It was expected, but I don't know if I anticipated such an interference. Senior year of IB sucks the life out of you, with assessments flying from every direction all the time, and any downtime I have had has been spent curled in bed, sleeping or sobbing/screaming from the stress and the sadness and wanting more than anything to write.

But, a gleaming light is on the horizon. Thanksgiving break is fast approaching, and with it nine days of freedom. Nine days to sleep and write and get caught up and, I hope, revive Elephant Poop which, for weeks now, has been dormant on my computer. I can feel its heartbeat weakening, and I have high hopes that the coming break will be the shot of adrenaline it needs to perk back up.

The end is near, and I have every intention of crossing the finish line come Nov. 30. A couple days of secluded writing, a box of Cheez-Its at my side and an angry voice barking out at any who come near should be enough to pump my writing back to life. Knock on wood.


I write this on the evening of Wednesday the 6th. Week One of NaNoWriMo 2013 is coming to a close, my word count is much lower (as is my brain function) than I anticipated so early in the game. This is my third year participating, and it has happened all three years; I itch for weeks to start, and once the time comes to sit and write, I'm clueless--like a presentation you prepare for weeks for, before getting up in front of the teacher and completely forgetting what you were supposed to say.

What was I writing again?

My memoirs? That shouldn't be that hard.

Oh, on the contrary.

NaNo 2k13 seemed like the perfect time to write Elephant Poop, a collection of essays (in the style of E.B. White) recounting the events of my last seventeen years. I've been feeling nostalgic these last few months, preparing to leave for college, filling out applications, and realizing around every turn that this is the "last" of some things at the home I grew up in: the last time I set out the Halloween decorations, the last time I will help my sister with a science fair project, etc. This nostalgia fueled the desire to write reflections of my childhood and adolescence, both to remember what I've seen and who I've met, and also as a kind of cathartic purge of all the insanity I've seen and lunatics I've met.

This week I attempted three essays, one about my childhood home, another about the first family member to kick the bucket (and how his final wish was to send the family to Disney, in an essay called "The Happiest Funeral on Earth") and the third reflections on the generational differences I've noticed between my generation and my eight-year-old sister's--how music, TV, and general way of life has changed from when I myself was eight. When we were eight, Maroon 5 was new and Green Day was new-ish. Today, eight-year-olds watch shows about blogging dogs and bring iPads to the dinner table.

I'm very far behind this week, due to general laziness, schoolwork load, and writer's block. I seem to be getting into a groove as I write this, though, so we'll see if I can get caught up.

Taking part in NaNo? Tweet us at @tbtwo or me personally at @rattyraconteur and tell me about your experiences. How far are you? What challenges are you encountering? How often are you crying and screaming and laughing manically?


In the midst of writing essay after essay for college applications, some bay area students (as well as more than 150,000 others worldwide) are gearing up for National Novel Writing Month, an annual creative writing project with one huge goal: to write 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel in 30 days. The novel can be written for any genre and in any format, so long as all 50K are written between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, when "winners" are crowned. What do winners win on that last day of November? The ability to call themselves novelists, something they weren't able to call themselves the day before.

I am one among thousands of WriMos this year excitedly gearing up for the 30 days and nights of literary abandon. I'll be cataloging my progress during the month in blog entries on, and we'd love to hear of your NaNo experiences as well. Tweet us @tbtwo and let us know how you're doing, how you're feeling, what you're writing and anything else NaNo related!

NaNoWriMo Blog: THE FINAL CHAPTER 10/30/13 [Last modified: Thursday, December 5, 2013 11:22am]
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