In my part of the country tonight, there's still time to finish the 50K-word novel and win the NaNoWriMo honor. National Novel Writing Month ends in about two hours on the East Coast, and certainly there are legions of chests bursting with appropriate pride for writing a novel in thirty days. Congratulations. I mean that sincerely though I didn't participate this year.
Despite it being a whipping boy for naysayers who call it a crap-fest, I believe the bones of the NaNoWriMo concept are good. It's an exercise in self-discipline, a necessary requirement for writers, one that usually is under-emphasized. Writers have to produce. In order to produce, they have to set goals and write on a regular basis. They should write every day. This is a stumbling point for many wannabe writers because it is so damn hard to do.
I am quite capable of explaining in agonizing detail the infinite (no exaggeration) ways in which things/life/distractions/people/natural disasters get in the way of my writing on a regular basis. Oh, hmm, how about, let's start with the easy stuff:
Housework (I cannot let my cat lick the dirty cereal bowls while I write, now can I?)
Mail (It may only come once a day and not on Sunday, but there's at least an hour of figuring out what to do with it.)
Repairs (My computer is flypaper to viruses; I must purge.)
Clutter (The very definition of my desk.)
Hairballs (See reference to cat in Housework.)
Blogging (I must write about why I'm not writing.)
Then there are the less obvious things that eat away at a writer's productivity. For me, something on the scale of small tragedy. Look away if you must, for these are not funny.
Death. (My husband died March 15.)
Loss of identity. (We were married for 20 years and together for 26. I spent more of my life with him than alone.)
Relocation. (By my choice, but nonetheless infused with hopes that didn't immediately materialize.)
Anxiety. (How do I become what I want to become, fashion a new life?)
Grace. (The state I am in, according to the grief counselor, therefore nothing else matters, including the writing.)
Please, do not feel sad for me. Feel encouraged tonight that scores of new stories were written this month by promising minds and that someday these books may find a way onto book shelves. I have hope my work will blossom again, too.