The commuter traffic outside my office window has slowed somewhat, but it’s Friday, so the expected busy, busy of anyone riding the weekend’s momentum has made for a much more noisy morning than I like. Gardeners have started their mowers, weed whackers, blowers. I can hear garbage trucks in the distance.
The overcast sky has helped magnify the noise my iTunes playlist is only slightly helping deaden and I struggle to stay focused. Emails ding in, calendar reminders pop up in the corner of my screen, and a phone call comes in I can’t ignore. The idea that I’ve signed up to commit myself to a solid month of writing is settling in and I begin to wonder whether I’m crazy or not. Writing. Not blogging. Writing. In fact, writing a novel.
When a friend suggested earlier this week that I join him in the effort, I responded that I would join National Novel Writing Month if he did. It was late one evening, I’d had a couple of glasses of wine, and my cavalier comment — made with complete conviction — was quickly forgotten like most things are when it’s time for bed after a busy day.
But yesterday, I was preoccupied throughout the day. It was a cranky sort of preoccupation so any task I busied myself with was shadowed by whatever was on my mind. I know if I stay busy enough, then I can avoid sorting through my thoughts while I do everything that needs to get done, but only barely. Half-heartedly sounds much better than half-assed, but the latter would be more accurate.
Another day passes and one last look at the world according to my iPad before I fall into bed informs me that my friend has officially signed up for “NaNoWriMo” and is encouraging me to do the same. I remember my words about joining him and immediately feel apprehensive wondering whether the time commitment is what I’m worried about or if finally saying I’m going to do something I’ve whined about for years is the culprit.
Maybe my hesitation has more to do with thinking I don’t want the experience to be yet another thing I can decide to quit before I do what I set out to do. It’s so easy to quit if you’ve done it as long as I have. I’m good at it. Not in the mood to think about all the what ifs, I open my book to read and close out whatever thoughts I have of anything else.
The downside to reading books on an iPad is that it’s conveniently next to my bed and I realize after awakening well before I’d like that I can reach for it to check in with life’s this and that instead of making a concerted effort to go back to sleep. The this and that would be most everything but the book I’m reading, and so of course the invitation from my friend appeared first, glowing in the dark. I stared at it, waiting for a reaction other than sheer terror. It was enough to ease the iPad back down and try to not think about it, but my mind was racing at this point. And the thinking I do at this time of night is rarely full of bright and shiny things.
I must have fallen asleep because ridiculous dreams of middle school camping trips gone awry and family cats who somehow followed along filled my first thoughts as the MoH’s alarm sounded. But by the time he leaned over for his usual have a nice day kiss, I found myself telling him about the idea of writing a novel in 30 days. He smiled and interrupted my babbling telling me to just go ahead. Go ahead and do it.
Well, why not?
I have no commitments other than those I make to myself. No one needs me. What’s my excuse for not finally deciding to write? Others commit to running marathons. I could never do that — nor have I ever wanted to — but maybe this is my marathon.
It looks like I have to go ahead and do it — and if there’s a goal attached other than simply finishing, then making sure I don’t finish half-assed would be important to me.
The terror has worn off, a pep talk from my mother helped loads, and the rest of the day has been filtered with giddy anticipation. It’s a welcome feeling.