Sunday, October 21, 2007

Taking the bull(sh*t) by the horns.

There are two things in my life that have been consistent. Two powers that started early and have never gone away. They are:

1. Writing, or as the writing tournament in middle school called it, the Power of the Pen, and
2. Procrastination

Admittedly, I've always been MUCH better at the latter, and only good at the former when I get into a groove - which is, to say, when I actually do it and do it a lot and under deadlines and for eyes other than my own. Ever since Mrs. Ames made us keep a journal in second grade, I've loved writing. Every subsequent "A" on English papers made me love it even more, and I've still never forgotten that "B" I got on an Art History paper in college (who did that woman think she was, giving me that "B"?? She's an ART HISTORY teacher, what does she know about writing??).

I've been wholly disappointed in my writing for the past, let's say, four to five years. When I do it, I don't like what I produce. When I don't do it, I feel... icky. There have been a magical few times where I'm doing it and doing it a lot, and I'm loving what I'm putting down on the page, and I experience a fulfillment I have never gotten out of any job, ever. These magical times are few and far between, and that annoys me. But then I always think, "Ah, I'll really commit to writing, starting next week."

The two consistencies in my life are not compatible.

Since no publisher is hounding me to turn in my manuscript on time, and since I am here and now publicly admitting my inability to discipline myself to write on my own, I've made the firm decision to participate in National Novel Writing Month. It starts at 12:01am on November 1st and ends at 11:59PM on November 30th. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month (woo hoo - a novel!). To win, you simply have to write 50,000 words. You get a fancy certificate and the knowledge that hey, you just wrote a novel.

I'm sharing this with those of you that read this site, because I know by November 5th, I'll want to say, "Meh, I'll just do it next year." Two years ago, I told (made the mistake of telling?) my friend Wendy about NaNoWriMo (as it's called). Wendy is the one friend who writes that has never let me read her work. And I bet it's fantastic. In any case, the following November, on probably November 3rd, she called me and said, "How's your novel coming?" I laughed. "What novel?" "It's National Novel Writing Month!" I laughed even harder. "Oh, Wendy, you're HILARIOUS." Throughout the month, she kept asking how my novel was coming, even though she knew I wasn't writing one. She would give me updates on hers, the one she was writing at 11PM every night, after both kids and her husband were in bed, after all the family maintenance was done. And I was too busy "sleeping" or "watching The Office" or "sleeping."

So this November, I'm doing it. And you (every last one of you) have to hold me accountable. Of course, I won't let you read the novel, because it's going to be absolute crap (which they encourage). But I will keep you posted on my word count. And I promise (to try) not to lie.

One week and change left...

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