(That is my opening line. Are you intrigued? Read on!)
I love to write, and I'm good at it. I wrote one novel that I'm very fond of, and I started a second one several months ago — but I'm also crazybusy, and I felt stressed and guilty when I kept "putting off" writing (or marketing Novel 1), so I took an official Leave of Absence from Writing, temporarily withdrew from my writers group, and focused on getting my life into an orderly and organized place again.
And while I worked on that, NaNoWriMo came up, and I thought — hmm, perhaps this is a great opportunity to jump-start my stalled writing! But I conveniently ignored several things:
- Every single year, I've said, "Why on earth do they hold NaNoWriMo in November, which is always a ridiculously busy month for me? I can't imagine trying to write a novel this month."
- My work life continues to be crazily unpredictable, though going for an interview to be a substitute teacher did seem to give my editing karma a good goose, as now I have several nice fat editing jobs scheduled for November.
- I HATE having to write. When Dave Barry retired from his daily humor column, the Boston Globe encouraged any aspiring humor writers to apply for his job, and my boss at the time nagged and nagged me to do it. I thought it over, I truly did, but I knew that I would hate it. Writing is my hobby; I do it for fun, and it brings me joy. If I had to do it, if it was my job and my livelihood, I would grow to loathe it. (Yet another reason that I no longer blog daily. I do it as the spirit moves me, and that's it. Having to write blows.)
- I am a Type A striver who cannot stand getting a grade lower than an A. Cannot. Stand. It. My grad school transcript is all A's except for one B+, and that B+ makes me insane. (Especially given the context! But that is an exciting and suspenseful story for another day.)
- I am having surgery. I am going to New York for three days with my darling pal Zanzibar. I am cooking for and enjoying Thanksgiving with my family. I will not be writing 1,667 words on any of these days — all of which happen in November, i.e., the month in which I'm supposed to write 1,667 words every damned day.
I have 8,145.
I feel like I start every day with the word "FAILURE" stamped on my forehead. It is awful, it is no fun, and I am miserable!!!
But! I had a wonderful conversation the other night with my great friend JoJo, Angel of Light, who overheard me mention NaNoWriMo. She sidled over and said, "I'm doing it too."
We met each other's eyes and then looked away quickly. I muttered, "Do you like it?"
She said, "Um. Er. Well . . ."
I took a deep breath and said, "I hate it."
"Oh!" she cried, "me too!" And then we talked fast and furious for 10 straight minutes about how pressured we feel and what great big losers we are. Then we gave each other supportive pep talks and agreed to cheer each other on for simply doing our best, even if we don't hit the 50K winning word mark.
I felt so much better after talking to her!!
And no, it did not matter to me one iota that JoJo, Angel of Light, is only 11. She is wise beyond her years, and I consider her my mentor.
Anyway. Yes, I could be working on my novel right now. I could also be mending the enormous pile of clothes at the foot of my bed, watching a movie with my daughter, putting the wet laundry in the dryer, vacuuming my bedroom, reading one of the three library books that are due this week, painting my nails, walking on my treadmill, playing cards with my son, writing a sympathy note to my besty Mrs. Cynicletary who just lost her mom, writing up the humorous synopsis of last Thursday's dinner party for the Betsy-Tacy e-list, or answering any of the 97 e-mails in my Inbox. There are so many demands on my time at any given moment . . . and I really don't want my inner voice yelling FAILURE! when I choose other human needs or my own mental-emotional health over 1,667 words!!
So I won't. I've put my inner voice on mute. I can only do what I can do.
But I will go switch the laundry now and vacuum my room. Waking up to a clean rug and clean clothes will be a nice way to start tomorrow (Brunie's birthday!). And who knows? Maybe I'll write a little in the afternoon.
And maybe I won't.
Either way, it will be fine. And I won't be miserable!
— Lady C, cutting herself some slack