Posted in writing

NanoLessons

For those of you who are finding your way here because of NaNoWriMo, I want to repeat myself in the interest of full disclosure: I am not writing fiction. I feel, as I am amassing these word counts that I was so certain were impossible before, that I must confess this, that I am cheating, that this must be easier… I’m not truly sure that this is true, as I have no plan and no idea where I am going with what I’m writing, but still. It keeps working, and I keep feeling like I’m ripping somebody off… can writing really be like this? Is word count– dare I say it– easy for me??

Here on day 13 and still on track to finish, I am soon to tip the scales and have more words behind me than in front of me. If I do not die in the next week I will most likely reach the halfway point. Why is this so bizarre? Why should this not be commonplace? Why have I never been here before? I’ll tell you why, and it’s a simple, one-word answer:

Chickenshit.

I have been a chickenshit for my entire adult life thus far. That’s it. I clearly have no other excuse. I laid the blame for my previous lack of productivity squarely at the feet of my children and spouse.  “My kids are sooo needy,” I said. “I homeschool!” I declared. “My husband never helps with the kids or the housework,” I whined. “I have an anxiety disorder,” I pleaded. Well, guess what? All those things remain unchanged, but what has changed is that I have written 22,365 words in thirteen freaking days.

Now, it may be drivel. And it may get edited down to less than half of its final volume. And in the end, it may be a rehashing of the works of others that never leaves my laptop. But I no longer have the excuses I had to explain why I don’t produce. In fact, I have no excuses for not producing. I have had “zero days,” where no words left my fingers save a few comments on Facebook. But somehow this 1667 words-per-day thing is propelling me along, and I keep catching up again. I could fail. No one would care; few would even notice. Why is this working for me? I have no idea.

Perhaps I’ve harbored the words for so long that they are now just spilling forth. Perhaps I am utilizing my subclinical OCD to my greatest advantage. Perhaps this is part of my midlife crisis. Perhaps I will soon come to a screeching halt, abruptly at a complete loss for words altogether. (This looks unlikely, even to me.) But whatever comes, I have been writing, and I am no longer afraid.

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Posted in writing

Two Days of Silence

See, I knew I needed to get ahead while I had the chance. No new words since Monday means I am now behind. I need 3336 words today to catch back up. Verily I say unto you, meh!

Please tell me to give up. Someone validate the critic in my head that says I can’t do this anyway so I should go ahead and save my energy for motherly duties like wiping noses and cleaning toilets and scolding small people. Never mind that my brain will go to mush on my steady diet of toddler-ese, kindergartener whining and Mexican stand-offs with the almost ten-year-old. I am already a failure, so why bother, right??

Right???

Posted in writing

Help Me, Obi-Wan

It is day three of NaNoWriMo. Day three of borderline panic and 24-hour nausea. 2605 words. I should spare myself the twenty-seven more days of torture and quit now. On the other hand, it has never been more clear to me that 1) I really, really do want to be a writer, and 2) I have always failed to follow through not out of laziness but out of terror. Yay!

I feel utterly horrible.

Posted in writing

NaNoWriMo

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). I have evaded this for a couple of years and decided this would be my year to participate. The target is 50,000 words in thirty days, which comes out to 1666.67 words per day. I already want to quit. I could go back to school to become a nurse, or become a bus driver, perhaps a garbage collector. Anything would be better than this! I have consumed two cans of almonds, compulsively checked Facebook 7523 times, planned my oldest child’s birthday party, and washed two loads of laundry. Perhaps this participation will at least amount to the completion of the eleventy-seven-hundred other tasks that I somehow never seem to finish. I think I’ll go start a knitting project…