My life and writing schedule have been in a bit of a chaotic mess lately. After MEH (My Engineer Husband) lost his job, and I stopped going to the coffee shop every morning to write, I stopped writing. Well, I wrote a couple of blogs, some blog comments, a handful of tweets, maybe 500 words a week of fiction. But for four weeks I felt like I was at a standstill. I drank coffee with MEH every morning, we chatted, I helped him look for jobs to apply to, I ironed his shirts, I gardened and cleaned the yard, I looked at the fall leaves…in short I puttered. No, worse. I floundered. I foundered too. (I get those words mixed up a lot but this time I looked them up, and both are true.)
Then came November. And NaNoWriMo. On October 31st I told MEH I was going for it. Thing is, I’m about 25,000 words into the current WIP, and I just made a mental breakthrough of sorts—I finally figured out the structure the book will take. November 1st I wrote about 400 words and then the power went out. We went to a coffee shop in town, but not the one I used to go to every day. We had to charge our computers, we told ourselves, but the truth is we were both floundering. MEH had gotten bad news about a job he’d applied to, “a sure thing,” the headhunter told him. And I—well, I was foundering.
I talked to the barista; “S” is a writer, too, working on an MFA. She and I talk writing and books whenever I go to that particular coffee shop. I told her I was thinking I was going for the NaNo. “NaNo?” S asked. “OH! NaNo! She pointed over to the coffee shop bulletin board: front and center and practically the only thing on the board, in large cut out letters was an announcement about the National Novel Writing Month. She wasn’t familiar with it until she saw the board, she said.
“Yeah, I’m going for it,” I said laughing nervously and looking over my shoulder at my computer next to MEH. I went back and wrote another 400 (or so) words.
The next day was Saturday. And I wasn’t so sure. Would I write? Was my resolve flagging? After all, I hadn’t really written much anyway. November 2nd and I was behind—at least in my own mind. 800 or so words of 50,000 hardly seemed to constitute a real start. I read some blogs, wrote some comments (do those count, by the way? I’m not wondering, it’s MEH—he asked), then I came to Lisa Kramer’s blog (Woman Wielding Words) and she was writing about NaNo…that she was doing it. I left a noncommittal comment, something about using NaNo for motivation (not admitting what I’d told S and MEH, that I was doing it), and left it at that. Later that day I went back to see if Lisa responded—she had. She suggested I should go for it, for the camaraderie…I thought about writing back and saying I was. But then I thought about the 800 words… the road ahead. My chaotic life.
Fast forward to this morning, way too early. In bed. Daylight savings gets me every time, and I woke up at 4:00 a.m. for good. I did what anyone would do… checked my Bloglovin feed and started reading blogs on my iPhone. I know, it’s a bad thing, but I do it.
The first one I read was the Debutante Ball. News flashes… one of them was an announcement by Natalia Sylvester, that she was going for it, at the last minute she’d decided to do NaNo. If I wasn’t fully awake yet, that woke me. #NaNoWriMo and #WordMarathon, she said. Check in, she said. I thought about my 800 words (I didn’t write at all over the weekend), I thought about the chaos in my life, but more, I thought about writing and how much I missed it, how much I loved the thought of checking in everyday with Lisa and with Natalia and with the other 267,777 people who have signed up, and I decided it’s just what I need.
How about you? Are you in? Have you ever done NaNo? Have you ever floundered (or foundered)? What did you do about it? Find me on Twitter @wordsxo, checking in at #NaNoWriMo and #WordMarathon.