National Novel Writing Month writing badges are a relatively new addition to the NaNoWriMo community, and they’re pretty neat in terms of motivation and feeling a sense of achievement. I couldn’t help but feel like there were some missed opportunities, however – so I recently mined reddit’s NaNoWriMo community for ideas on what badges are needed to fill in the gaps. Here are just are just a handful that we came up with!
1. The Thanks To Sleep Deprivation, I Can Sleep Literally Anywhere Now! badge
Most folks who participate in NaNo struggle with sleep and often have a love-hate relationship with it. Love it when it happens, hate that it takes away from perfectly good free time we could be writing! Now there is an added bonus, which is adaptability! Congratulations, we are probably building some mutant race that is less reliant on sleep 100 years from now!
2. The Master Multitasker. You Did It All. Literally. How?! badge
You have kids, a job, a spouse, pets, friends who want to spend time with you (selfish!), side projects, front projects, project projects. You’re insane. And should probably run for President or Dictator or something. I don’t have much to say about this badge because I literally have no idea how you do it.
3. The You Sacrifice Everything In The Month Of November, Becoming the Quintessential ‘Lone Wolf’ For the Sake of Success! badge
This is the multitasker’s natural enemy. The Lone Wolf (I have to admit that I fall into this category), understands their limitations when it comes to focus and dedication. It is for this reason they must, regrettably, cut you out of their life for up to 30 days – BUT – it might not take that long. In fact, the more you leave me alone, the more likely you are to see me later in the month!
4. The You (somehow) Survived A Critical Failure And Lost All Your Progress At Least Once And Still Managed To Recover! badge
Saving and saving your work often is not really going to help you out if your computer chooses the month of November to Bite the Big One. Nor will it un-corupt your text file should you be so unfortunate to be in such a situation. HOWEVER, you, proud badge wearer, were not deterred. Okay, maybe you were for a little bit. Crying is perfectly acceptable in this kind of situation. But instead of giving up, you trudged forward and you know what, you probably wrote a better story because of it. Good on you!
5. The You Have Been Burned In The Past So Now You Have 15 Back Up Plans and Multiple Redundancies For Your Precious Novel! badge
There is a very good chance that you earned badge #4 in a previous year. For this reason, you do not f%#* around! You are the model Wrimo who has mastered Google Docs, has more back up USB drives than James Bond, and have figured out how to automate emailing your work to yourself as you write it. You are also the file-backup-or-else apostle, spreading the good word to anyone who will listen.
6. The Everybody In Your Home Town Knows About NaNoWriMo Because Of You, You Eager Beaver! badge
Hey, guess what? You do an awesome, amazing thing every year that makes you feel really good and creative and fulfilled. And you want the world to know! You get this badge because there is nothing that will squash your passion for NaNoWriMo and telling literally anyone who will listen about it, and… perhaps most importantly… what you are writing this year.
7. The You Have Somehow Managed to Write 10,000+ Words Without Once, I Repeat Once, Actually Describing Your Main Character! badge
I am not sure this badge is one you always want. I mean, I guess it really depends on your story. Are you purposely keeping this a mystery? Are you going to get around to it when you can feel your fingers again? I bet you could get a good 100 words or so out of at least telling us what color hair they have and if they are cross-eyed or not. I’m sure you’ll get around to it eventually! (Just please don’t spend two chapters describing a door)
8. The You Are No Longer In Control Of Your Characters And They Are Now Completely Off Script, But Hey, It Is Generating A TON of Word Count! badge
I have to imagine we have all felt this pain at some point. Your character wanders out of the scene out of boredom or HEY! there is something shiny over there! Let’s go look at IT! This can be frustrating under normal circumstances, but when it comes to NaNoWriMo, I highly encourage you to just go with it and wear this badge with pride. So what if you might need to be committed later…?
9. The Writer UNBLOCKED! badge
This badge is earned by those writers who hit a wall. A tall wall. A thick one. A wall made of dead Persians – you know, the usual kinds of walls. And these writers struggle, and struggle, and then it happens. The block breaks apart and you suddenly know what needs to happen! Cue the joy, cue the relief, and cue earning this badge for sticking with it and working out the kinks!
10. The There Is No Way This Is Going To Work, Proceed With Operation Nuke The Site From Orbit! badge
Unlike the Writer Unblocked badge, this is a wholesale acknowledgement and acceptance of the fact the story you started with is just not going to work. You’re not feeling it, your characters are cardboard, it’s a struggle to write every word. This badge if for those people who nuke their first idea and then proceed to run with another, kicking ass and taking names all along the way!
11. The I-Talked-A-Fellow-Wrimo-Off-The-Ledge! badge
This badge is for all those generous souls who take time out of their writing to help talk a friend, writing buddy or even a random Wrimo off the ledge – be it from having an existential crisis, wanting to edit prematurely, or give up altogether. These badge holders are a big part of what makes NaNoWriMo so special – we have built a community that welcomes every level of writer, along with the entire spectrum of ambition levels – from overachiever to Master Procrastinator. We all support each other in our own way, and none is more important than you, Mr. Ledge-Talker-Off’er. Keep telling people to ‘Hang In There!’
12. The, Guess What? You Get To Write A Novel AND Feel Like Your Face Is Melting Off! badge
If you do NaNo long enough, this is bound to be your fate eventually. You spend all of October pumped and ready to go, and then BAM, you start sniffling. At first, there is denial – I’m fine, I swear. It’s just allergies or something. And then the sneezing starts, and before you know it, you’re at that stage of illness that puts you thisclose to making a deal with the devil to get better. Oh, and you’re still slogging through putting words on paper, but you are DEDICATED! And my, what interesting chapters you wrote under the influence of cold meds. This badge is for all those who persevere during illness in November!
13. The This Is Gonna Be a Photo Finish, Pray To Your Gods if You Got ‘Em! badge
Set Condition 1 throughout the ship! It is the last godsdamn day and you are SO CLOSE! You can’t write until your second-shift job releases you from their evil clutches and then it’s a mad dash to 50,000 words before midnight local time. This badge is for the people who MAKE IT HAPPEN when it’s down to the wire and all hope seems to be lost. Nope, not today, November. Not today.
14. The I Don’t Even Know What Is Real Anymore! badge
When you sit down and decide to dedicate hours to pouring out your heart and soul until you reach a goal of a ridiculous amount of words, there are going to be times where you question reality. Am I Real? What does it mean to be real? Am I God? Do my characters live? What days is it? And where am I while I’m asking all these pertinent questions… It is a serious drag when you go through this existential, transcendental experience and still have to find time to do laundry before work on Monday. Take this badge, you earned it!
15. The I… I Did A Thing. I Actually Did It! badge
Last, and absolutely not least, is this astonishment badge for actually doing the thing you set out to do. You may think think this is just for first-timers, but you’d be wrong. Every time you accomplish this task, you should be proud and a little astonished of yourself. You, a busy human being who has a life completely apart from writing, told a story that was worth writing. You accomplished something that is going to last forever – that story is now fact, and YOU DID IT. You made the thing! Congratulations! Be astonished with yourself!!
Eve is the founder of Some Nerd Girl and the author of urban fantasy novel Children of the Fallen and science fiction novel Colony One. She has been writing since the age of 13 and has been flying her nerd flag for the past 16 years. Fandoms include Star Wars, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica. Basically if it has ‘star’ in it, she’ll give it a shot. You can visit her website at www.somenerdgirl.com. And she really wishes this whole article counted towards her Word Count…