I just finished cleaning my office (read: spare bedroom). And by "finished" I mean I became equal parts distracted and frustrated and gave up.
Twice this week I’ve put laundry in the dryer and then walked away without starting it. This is an obvious (to me) sign that I’m overtaxed. Stretched to the point of being rice-paper thin. I used to lock my keys in the car when I was in such a state…while it was running. I don’t do that anymore, but only because my current car does not allow it.
It’s November. My work is gearing up because we’re busiest at year-end. I’ll be traveling later in the month, so I’m trying to get ahead. I have to pull out my ever-expanding Christmas shopping list and get my shop on. I hate getting my shop on.
Coworkers and friends have noticed my frazzled distraction and, in an effort to help, suggested that I pull out of NaNo. Inside my head, this sends me off into peals of hysterical laughter. In the real world, I plaster on a sincere smile and say: “Oh, that’s not the problem.”
Because, what they don’t understand is that I was writing almost every night and weekend before NaNo. I didn’t have as high a daily word count. Sometimes I counted making it into the chair and staying awake while the laptop whirred to life as a success.
Quick Aside: In Defense of NaNo
I’ve heard NaNo decried as a self-glorifying way for a bunch of talentless hacks to crank out loads of crap. Believe me, talentless hacks don’t need to be encouraged to crank out the crap; it comes naturally and inexorably.
NaNo gives people who toil alone a chance to be part of an energetic, enthusiastic community. It gives the writers who haven’t been able to get past the 10K, 20K or 40K mark just enough positive pressure that, this time, they might make it.
Will NaNo2010 result in a lot of very bad stories? Of course. Most will die unfinished deaths, or wither from the writer’s priority list during the revision process, the beta reading process, or the query process. That’s the natural order of things. Some beautiful novels have come out of NaNo. I’ve seen the sales of two intriguing novels within the last year, and I’m sure there are many more I’m unaware of.
My problem isn’t that NaNo is wearing me out. It’s that life is getting in my way. My employer, like many others, is pushing higher profits without providing more shoulders on which to balance the work. My child is fully aware of the time his mother spends away from him, so I’m trying to shift more of that to his sleeping hours. I’m also trying to add two hours of workout time to my week since coming to realize that, despite all the science fiction I read, this is likely the only body I’m going to be allowed.
So, where does this leave me? In a half-clean office but, more importantly, sitting at my computer, about to start writing again. Because, you know what? I have to. I have to go to work because I have bills to pay. I have to clean because, even in the far north, we get vermin in unsanitary environments. But I have to write because, if I don’t, I will go stark-raving mad. It’s my escape and my entertainment, and the effort I put into it is returned tenfold in satisfaction. It is, dear readers, worth it.