Peach the Panda and the Monsters of NaNoWriMo: Chapter 1

Once upon a time in a faraway land known as NaNoLanta, Peach the Panda was looking to change her life.  She was stuck in a cave that looked just like every other cave, and was quite simply bored out of her mind.  She had tried to learn how to better cook bamboo but that didn’t seem to fill her up.  She had tried to learn how to paint but felt brushed aside.  And she had thought about trying to write a novel, but whenever she thought about that grand escape from her cave, the ground would shake and she would hear a rather loud roar.

She knew what it was.  She had been trapped in her cave for years, ever since she was a little Panda.  She had tried different outlets to escape, but nothing ever worked.  Sometimes the monster wasn’t so scary, but whenever she thought about escaping her cave through writing, the shadow of the monster grew a little more.

It was the Monster of Self Doubt.  It kept her trapped in her cave, and whenever she thought about escaping the cave to the forest outside, the mere thought of the monster made her flee back to the safety of her cave.  She had no idea what it would be like if she did try to escape her mundane life.  But she knew the time had some – she knew she had to do something or she would risk staying stuck in the cave forever.  She simply yearned to be set free.  She needed to somehow escape the Monster of Self Doubt.  So she began to plan.

Now she knew of the legends that spoke of two different ways to plan her escape.  There were those that liked to plan every step of the way in advance and those that liked to be more spontaneous after they escaped their caves.  She knew either plan worked just as well, but despite those two different ways, all pandas needed to at least plan out when they would be able to escape – when they would have the time to settle down and make their goal of escaping the cave a reality.

She settled down and worked on her plan.  She decided to plan out a little of the route she would take through the forest, but gave herself some wiggle room.  Finally the day came when it was time to put her plan into action – November 1st.  And something funny happened while she lost herself in her the planning – that Monster of Self Doubt?  As soon as she focused on planning and had decided to take her first step out of the cave, the Monster of Self Doubt vanished.  She was ready to take her first steps.


Some people like to plan out and outline their entire novels before beginning and some people like to barely plan anything on their novel and improvise throughout the entire month.  But even if you don’t want to plan anything out in your novel, you still need to do some planning for November – when you plan to write during the day, how you will find the time, a little about your characters or a vague plot outline, etc.  And this is the time to get serious about those plans.

-Look at your monthly calendar with a realistic eye.  Are you going out of town for Thanksgiving?  Veteran’s Day?  Do you know Black Friday shopping takes away an entire weekend?  Do you have a crazy work schedule?  A crazy family schedule?  Do you have other volunteer commitments during November?   Take a look at your monthly calendar and come in to November with a realistic idea of when you’ll be able to write.

-Do whatever amount of novel planning seems right to you.  If you want to outline, outline.  If you want to just get some characters together, get those characters together.

It’s time to defeat your Monster of Self Doubt.  You can totally do this crazy idea of writing a novel in a month; just don’t let self doubt hold you back. No one enters NaNoWriMo completely confident they’ll hit 50k and finish their novel.  But you can’t let your Monster of Self Doubt keep you from attempting your dream.  What’s your plan to get around the Monster of Self Doubt?  Post about it in the Atlanta Regional Forum here:

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