Vanity? Thy name is NOT “Writer”

Today was the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! That means for the next 30 days I will pursue, with single-mindedness, a goal of 50,000 words and the completion of a book. Or something passing for a book, anyway.

Now, to achieve this, some sacrifices will be made. Friends and family will understand if I don’t chat as much, text as much, email, call or otherwise am seen beyond the library and coffee houses or wherever my computer and I happen to plant ourselves.

But mostly, I have to tell you, I’ve discovered a little known fact about NaNoWriMo and the writers – the WriMos. We are not vain. Nope, there’s not a whit of vanity hovering about us. Know how I know?

Take a look at the writer in the coffeehouse. Massed over the hair is a pair of headphones. Music and noise cancelling are more important than the latest coiffure. If no headphones, then a headband to hold the hair back so the earphones are unobstructed. And in many cases, the writer sports a ball cap. Oh not to go all Greta Garbo (we wish we had such fame)! No, this is to shade our eyes from the ugly florescent lights so that we might focus on the shiny computer screen or, in some cases, to take the glare off the writing tablet (you know the one with paper, right?).

So here we have the headphones and ball cap — Voila! Hat hair. Maybe that hat is also hiding something else…the dry skin from either the dry air of the coffee shops or the air conditioner or the heat. Writers invest heavily in moisturizers because, well, we need them! But it doesn’t diminish the fact that we have “computer skin.” That’s why we try to write outside when we can but there again is the hat, ball cap, or we end up in the shade…ah, moisturizer.

Next, let’s examine what else the writer must sacrifice for the craft. How about the cold fingers or arms. Yes those busy fingers must be kept warm and those lower arms must not suffer in the drafts. So you’ll see fingerless gloves and arm warmers. Not the most attractive things but ask the writer who feels relief if he or she cares?? The arm warmers are a lot like leg warmers of the 70’s. Oh, wait…those pesky leg warmers ARE BACK! You’ll see writers wearing those too. Even ugly UGGs. Yup, a writer will place comfort and warmth above all sense of style.

Finally, the writer who finds a comfortable corner at home in front of the fireplace will most likely be in sweats or jammies, and the fuzziest of slippers or mules or socks. Yes, comfort. The long hours in early mornings or late nights require that thinking of cold or uncomfortable body part not be a distraction. Terrycloth robes, ratty sweaters, all are included in the “I’m too comfortable for my shoes” writer.

And then let’s consider nails. Now, I’m not going to tell you that all writers have short nails because they don’t. But I will tell you that serious typists keep their nails short and don’t’ worry about whether or not their polish is the trending shade. Not for next 30 days anyway. Nope, those nails are going to be short so the fingers (in the fingerless gloves) can hit those typewriter keys with wild abandon! Long nails make me miss the keys and are a blooming nuisance!

Let us not forget diet. Ah WriMos have to have their inspiration. Chocolate, cookies, chips, gum, chocolate (did I say that?), coffee, coffee, coffee. Tea, water, coffee. You get the idea. Things that taste good, are quick and easy and some thing that we can reach for in the drawer. And then there is wine, and some prefer that glass of whiskey or scotch and we know what alcohol does to you (why moisturizer is important!). WriMos have to have their snacks. These sustain us in the tense word count moments. Not good nutrition but who’s worried about that right now?

Hair, skin, warmth, comfort, nails. clothes…all are sacrificed for the goal of 50,000 in 30 days.


Here’s to Armani, Valentino, Donna Karen, Louis Louboutin, Bob Mackie and all the other famous designers dressing people around the world who do care about how they look and how tight their Spanx are. Bravo to them all. Just remember, none of them are doing 50,000 words.

And if they are doing it in designer duds, then they probably don’t care if they complete the goal or not. They can afford to be vain. And hey, after all that who gives a crap what you look like?? You’ve written a book!

But we writers on the street….let’s see…that’s 688 words and counting…pass the hot coffee and the blankie, on your way out, won’t you? I need to heat my mac and cheese and then I’ve got a chapter to finish.

Oh and hey, I’m not saying that the NaNoWriMo writers don’t care about being presentable.

Just don’t bother them – me – with such trivia for the next 29 days. Pass the chocolate.