I am embarking on an epic journey in November. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. I recently found out about this contest, which is to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of November. If I pace myself and average 1,666.67 words a day, I will do it. I envision myself as a writing warrior in a medieval quest for the holy grail.
As the days grow nearer to November 1, I begin questioning if this was a wise decision. Why would I do this to myself? We are currently remodeling our kitchen and have no cabinets, countertops or sink. In fact, there is nothing in our kitchen except a floor and a refrigerator. Within the span of the next two to three weeks, if everything goes according to plan, we will have our kitchen back together. This will require a huge amount of effort on my part to unload the fifty packed boxes of kitchen items strewn throughout our house, sort through them, since I didn’t do this at packing time, and organize everything back into the cabinets. No problem, I am a warrior. If I repeat the mantra to myself, “1,666.67 words per day”, I can accomplish this. I may even round up to “1,667 words per day”. It sounds better.
Adding to the kitchen remodel chaos, my daughter’s 17th birthday is in November. Just as I was lamenting how much I miss the birthdays when my kids were younger and all the fun of planning childhood parties, I have realized it is a blessing in disguise that as a teenager all she wants is money. The only work it involves on my part is to go to the bank, withdraw some money and hand it to her. If I’m feeling real generous, I’ll stop at Cold Stone and get her an ice cream cake too. Happy Birthday, now get out of my way, I have to write more words. I did all the work the day you were born anyway.
Then there is the small issue of having 18-20 guests for Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Hopefully the kitchen will have cabinets and countertops at that point. I have managed to delegate much of the cooking to others and they should all show up with bits and pieces of our dinner. My major contribution to the feast will be the turkey and a clean house. In fact, by the time the turkey is in the oven, if I produce an average of 1,667 words per day, I will be 87% finished and won’t be sweating anything. I can always hire someone to clean the house if panic sets in. No problem, I am a writing warrior. This will not stop me on my quest. Now, on the other hand, if I haven’t averaged 1,667 words per day up until that point, I may spend Thanksgiving day drinking wine and wondering how I’m going to write 20,000 words by the end of the month.
So, three days from the starting line of this grand journey, I circle back to the original question I am pondering …why would I do this to myself? It’s simple. I love to write. I am doing it for me. Now that I’ve told everyone I know that I’m doing it, there is no backing out. What better way for me to put “me” first and accomplish something I have always wanted to do?