More thoughts on NaNoWriMo

It’s November!! We are two weeks into November, folks, and that also means two weeks into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) – the time of year when writers the world over develop a nasty case of hunchback.  December is soon to be known as NaChiLoWriMo (National Chiropractors Love Writers Month).

I have been working at a frenzied pitched, burning up my keyboard to stay on schedule.  My total word count so far is at 2,078!

What?! My word count is supposed to be 12.03 times that amount! What happened?

Well, life. Life happened:

  • Effy’s birthday (I’ve taken to calling her Effy because of this blog)
  • My birthday
  • Play audition
  • Little League basketball practices for Eff and Z
  • Neurologist appointment
  • Endocrinologist appointment
  • Searching the attic for a Bubbles wig
  • Working (the thing I do that actually pays the bills)
  • Migraine headaches (I only mention this because it did take up 5 of the last 16 days)
  • Paying bills
  • Buying groceries
  • Running errand
  • House cleaning
  • Laundry, laundry, laundry!

Have you to let me off the hook?

Well, don’t. I am a chronic procrastinater mixed with master excuse-maker. I intimated this to my linguistic’s professor one semester and, wouldn’t you know it, when I actually needed the extra time to submit my final project (my husband, our kids and I were travelling to Georgia to welcome our little Z to the family), Dr. B held my feet to the flame. “No extension,” he said. “Although I really want to give you one and an occasion such as deserves one, I am not going to give you one because you will never finish. This project will hang over you and will bog down your next semester,” he explained to me, but in a lot fewer words. It is remarkable how much he can say with so little words.  At the moment, I was a little livid.  Not at him, really, but myself.  Why, oh why do I tell people these things about myself?  I am my own worst enemy.

Does texting count? Because in the last week alone, I’ve texted G at least 10,000 words discussing the whereabouts of that blasted Bubbles wig and lamenting my failure to find it. And I’ve tweeted at least half that many words telling her about the cool pants the lead guitarist/singer of the band performing at B.B. King’s had on. Adding those words would really help.

My NaNoWriMo excuses reek of other excuses I’ve made to cover why I haven’t finished other projects.

  • I left a one inch strip of wall unpainted around the thermostat in the livingroom because I couldn’t get the painters tape to lay just right.  It probably wouldn’t have been so noticeable had I not painted the previously white room loganberry. The glaring white wall rimming the thermostat was there for 8 years until we painted in preparation to move.
  • I was hosting Thanksgiving and had to start preparing, so I couldn’t finish stripping the 16″ X 16″ spot on the guest bedroom’s wood floor. Then there was Christmas, and New Year’s, and Valentines, etc. and those did come around every year for the next 4 years. Good thing we adopted our little Effy. That floor may have never gotten completely stripped.
  • I haven’t finished unpacking boxes from two moves ago (spread over 12 years) because I don’t have enough room for everything. This one is completely valid. I do not have enough shelves. See my earlier post here.
  • I haven’t finished my TESOL certification because our move interrupted my final project (not the one for Dr. B, but a different project for another professor who was gracious enough to agree to an extension).

Are you convinced? There are many more if I really gave myself time to think of them, but that would keep me from my intended goal for this month – to write a novel. A 50,000 word novel. A novel consisting of roughly 250 pages. A novel I began to outline in July and mull over for three months.

I blame it on the time of year.  Whoever thought that November was a good month to write a novel because there was nothing going on did not have children who inevitably take part in Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day programs and didn’t have to prepare for the Thanksgiving feast on the fourth Thursday of the month and the subsequent feasts held by other groups, clubs and in-laws that one may be a part of. Nothing going on in November? Really?

June or July is much better. You may think it’s busier this time of year because of school is out and kids are home all day, and there are the inevitable vacations, weddings, baseball, soccer, Independence Day, etc., but you are forgetting three words that guarantee 2 hours of writing per day: Vacation Bible School.  I might have an advantage because, living in the South, there is a church every 20 feet. Seriously. There are four towns spanning 15 miles along Hwy 51, and there are 100+ church – most of which hold VBS in the summer. It really is a writer’s paradise: two hours every night throughout the summer without the expense of a babysitter, having to arrange play dates, or provide snacks. It’s all included (I can hear the heavenly hosts singing as I typed that). It’s perfect.

I know that you don’t have great faith that I will finish the month. That’s okay. I am lowering my standards.  As yesterday’s post stated, I am going to “write something everyday” because that is what NaNoWriMo is really about, getting writers to make a habit of writing every single day. I may not write 1,667 words per day, but I will write something.

If you are grappling with a sense of failure because you haven’t met your goal, you are not alone.  Hang in there my fellow NaNoWriMo’ian! You don’t have to complete all 50,000 words.  Just write something everyday.

(The word count for this post is 985. May I add that to my months total?)


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