I have a lot of obligations in my life. All of them huffing on my doorstep before the sun even breaks, panting and frothing from their mouths, waiting to chase me through the day like a rabid pack of wolves. From the kids’ music lessons to their homework, the pets, the laundry and dishes; a swirling Mary-go-round that never stops. I get sucked into the mêlée of volunteering and school activities and twenty thousand tiny extra ‘yes’ moments that add up to weeks and months of juggling promises and, to my great dismay, often dropping the ball.
So why, on God’s green earth, would I sign up for one more thing? What madness would possess me to add 1700 words a day to my ridiculous laundry list of things to do? At a time when I should be learning to say ‘no’ to the next wolf that comes knocking on my door, I’m opening it wide and brandishing a red cape to boot.
But NANOWRIMO is not some random nod of my head, or instantaneous “Sure I can do that,” moment which ropes me into coaching book club teams and painting thumb print spiders with a group of sugared-up third graders. No, my decision to once again produce 50,000 words in one month’s time was one planned out over a very thoughtful few minutes to myself.
You see, I do a lot of things and most of them out of love. I volunteer because I love my daughters and I love seeing the potential and amazing nature of kids. I coach the book club team, because I love reading and I want every kid (ergo every adult) to love reading too. I thumbprint the heck out of those spiders, because I know there are kids that don’t have a parent at home that will take time to paint with them. I’ll put up with cranky tantrums and back-talking in my short hours of volunteering, because chances are, those outspoken kids aren’t getting the attention and love they need elsewhere. And I have love. I was born with an amazing amount of it, and my parents fostered it. It’s a well inside of me that springs up new every day, every hour, every minute.
And that’s why I plan on writing the heck out of NANOWRIMO this year. For all the love I give, I have given very little to myself lately. And as deep as my well runs, it’s noticeably lowered. I haven’t been investing in the things that I love to do. I haven’t given myself the same loving time that I gladly give others.
If I have a responsibility, a proclaimed or silent agreement to do something, I will do everything in my power to get it done. It’s one of my major character flaws; stubbornness. Charming and annoying all at once.
So when I say I’m participating in NANOWRIMO this year I’m not doing it to brag, I’m doing it to track that particular wolf (my alpha desire) down and run off into the wild with it. I’m doing it as a promise to myself and the work I love. 1700 words a day is a gift. I will sort out the other things in my life that really matter.
There will be less (of the already limited) television. There will be an extra half-hour in the morning when I’m not surfing the web. There will be a few spare moments in the car, a few extra piles of laundry going undone. There will be a toy room that gets its door closed instead of cleaned up. There will be words. Stories, characters and conversations. Challenges and antagonists. There will be romance and action. Tears and laughter.
And in the long run, there will be love bubbling up from my well again.
Happy writing my fellow authors. Here’s to running wild with your words, and giving yourself and your writing the love and devotion it deserves.
Sarah Reichert is a writer, novelist, poet and blogger. She is a member of the Northern Colorado Writers group. She is the author of Fixing Destiny and Finding Destiny the first two novels in a series of paranormal romances set in Maine. Her work has been featured in The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Haunted Waters Press and Tuliptree Publishing’s 100-Word Dash. Reichert lives in Fort Collins with her family.
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Maryann Miller says
Gladly cheering on those who take the NANO challenge, but I have never been able to. Every year I direct a holiday show at our local community theatre, and to say that consumes me in Oct and Nov is an understatement. I do, however, get into the spirit of NANO and make myself be a bit more disciplined about my writing time, making sure I get some words in every day, even if it is only 100.
HeathER Hudson says
I did the camp and I am doing the NaNoWriMo. I have yet to meet the sites goal, but that is not the point for me. I meet my own goals. For me it is to remind myself that writing is my goal. I am a writer, I need to write. It is a focused burst of effort in my writing where I have a quantifiable definable and achievable goal. I hear so many “writers” say things like “I have this brilliant idea, I have had it for years.” “Great,” I say, “How long is it? Can I read it?” “It is not on paper, it is all in my head.” Those are dreamers, not writers. I am a writer, a slow one, but a writer. NaNoWriMo makes me a more productive and focused and goal oriented writer who puts actual words into the world. Some people are put off by the 50,000 words, but you can set and track your own length. If you have the discipline to do your work on your own, good for you! If you need a little writerly help and support I recommend it.
Dean K Miller says
A wise choice and well defined, Sarah. Myself, I choose not to Nano, nor have I ever in the past. I’m learning to say no, and this is one of those times that I do. But fresh baked cookies that haven’t yet been made, of course I’ve got time for that! Good luck and I know you’ll do well this month!
Sarah Reichert says
Thanks for the response, Dean! You’re right, sometimes saying no is the best thing you can do. I’ve come to a conclusion, that you can bake cookies for me, and I will write. I think it’s a win-win 😉 I hope we can get together sometime for a non-obligatory coffee.
Margot Kinberg says
I always learn from others’ perspectives on writing, including NaNoWriMo. Thanks, both. I wish you well, Sarah, with your writing. NaNoWriMo may not be for everyone, but for those who choose it, it can offer a great opportunity.
Sarah Reichert says
Thank you Margot! It is interesting to see how others approach this month and what it does for them, both good and bad. Its also nice to see people refuse to do it. It’s a defining event that changes from year to year for me.
L. Diane Wolfe says
We have to stop and fill our tank or we have nothing to give to others. Enjoy your month of NaNoing.
Sarah Reichert says
You are absolutely right! So often, as women and mom’s I think we forget that we need care too. Thank you for reading!
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
As you said, NaNo is for you, not for others, and we need to take time for us.
I’ve participated in NaNo before and yeah, some things fall by the wayside. But if you plan and prioritize, you can make it happen. Good luck, Sarah!
Sarah Reichert says
Thank you Alex! In years past it has sometimes been a challenge that I felt obligated to do, but this year it’s been a sneaky way for me to get out of the dishes without feeling quite as guilty. I appreciate your comment, and thanks for reading!