Friday, December 2, 2011

About Writing

Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is a challenge where, well the name says it all; you try to write 50,000 words in November. Now, I've signed up a couple times, but this is the first year I made the goal. It's a great feeling.

Previously, I would sign up and get a little start, only to have all sorts of stuff interfere with my life.This year was no different, except maybe the stuff that was interfering was more intrusive than usual. And that's saying something.

I have a habit of never making plans beyond today - often, not beyond the next couple of hours. I never know what's gonna happen.

I wish I lived in a world where I could set aside x amount of writing hours per day at a given time. I tell myself I could do that, but the reality is, anything can happen. The dog gets sick, the house needs fixing, my kid's car breaks down, the other one needs a babysitter, etc, etc. A day in the life, you know?

I know your life get hectic too, and I'm not making excuses. Life is crazy all over. It's just been one of those months when all the stars aligned like that. I never thought I'd had five minutes to write. About a week in (after being interrupted every time I turned my computer on) I was already 3k under my word count goal, and considering quitting. I knew, with Thanksgiving looming - that I would have to get in more than 1,667 words a day, more like 2,000.

It was depressing. I didn't write at all for three days. Thing is, I felt guilty. Here I was, doing everything for everyone else. All I wanted for myself was a couple measly hours to hack out a few thousand words of the world's worst novel. Is that too much to ask?

And since I don't DO depressed, I went to angry. Not like dish-throwing, door-slamming angry, but determined angry. The only one I could blame for not writing this thing was myself.

So, I wrote. Late at night when I couldn't sleep, I wrote. When I went downstairs to the basement to do laundry, I brought the net book and wrote. When I waited at the bus stop, picking up my granddaughter from school, I wrote.

What other writers say is true, I found. That we can make excuses or we can consider these things a challenge. We all have people interrupting, a million other obligations, and limits to our energy and time. The carrot in front of my nose was this: if I could hit that 50k goal with all the chaos, I'd never again feel so overwhelmed by life that I could not write.

Also, I have a renewed respect for all other writers. I was looking at all the books on my book shelf, wondering what went on in the lives of those authors as they typed away.


  1. I love this... realizing that even the big writers have real lives somewhere, and they managed/manage to bang out books... we're not so different, eh?

    I'm glad you won! Yay you!

  2. Great job! At some point, all of us who want to get something written have to make writing a high priority.