10 Signs Someone You Know is Doing National Novel Writing Month

Many of us who take part in National Novel Writing Month enjoy shouting from the rooftops that we’ve accepted the heady challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel during the 30 days of November—but others are more secretive about it. If you have a friend, coworker, family member, or other loved one whom you suspect has covertly embarked on the insane journey of thrills, heartbreak, and extreme writing speed that is NaNoWriMo, here are a few signs to watch out for:

1)  When you tell him a funny story over lunch about how your boss got his arm stuck in a vending machine, he cries, “Yes! I can use that!” and starts scribbling furiously on a napkin.

2)  You get a late-night text message from her that says, “I need a sexy name for a gangster’s girlfriend. She’s a redheaded former spy-assassin from Chicago and she knows jiu-jitsu. GO!”

3)  Sneaking up behind him while he’s on his laptop, you see that he’s googled the phrase, “tropical diseases that cause temporary blindness in pirates.”

4) You recently noticed his cup of coffee drinking its own tiny cup of coffee.

5)  She can be found on Facebook and Twitter at weird hours of the night and early morning posting things like, “1,837 words in an hour!” and “What’s another word for ‘burnished’?” and “Did Vikings wear bedroom slippers?”

6)  You turn over in the middle of the night and realize that your partner’s typing in her sleep.

7)  During a heated argument, he tells you that your dialogue is weak, your motivations are unclear, your backstory is underdeveloped, and your plot is full of holes. Then, he tries to change your name to something that “works better in this story and fits your character more.”

8)  When you ask how her day is going, she launches into a rant about how hyphenated words apparently only count as one word, when clearly—obviously—they should count as two words. She then mutters something about how the hyphen is a “tiny bridge of lies and betrayal” and is “killing my productivity.”

9) Right in the middle of a dinner conversation, he falls asleep…then immediately starts sleep-typing.

10) You hardly see her at any social gatherings during the month of November—and when you do, she looks exhausted, excited, determined, woozy, haunted—and yet also, somehow, like she’s in the middle of having the best time ever.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?