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:
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.