NaNoWriMo: But It’s NOT a Novel, It’s…

My writing is already in ruins and I haven’t even begun NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve been doing everything I can not to get started. That’s kind of my MO. Make a long list of things that need to be done, or things I want to do, then procrastinate. For this exercise alone, I’ve sat here for at least twenty minutes. This is how it went.

Sauerkraut is one of my weaknesses!

While eating my delicious excuse to have tons of sauerkraut…aka hot dogs…I started to think, “You know, it’s November, NANOWRIMO is still feasible. Remember when you participated a few years ago? It was awesome.”

And it was. I had put together some of my best fiction work that month and the month after. Each morning, I’d gather up my laptop and a cup of coffee, then walk out to my trailer to sequester myself for one hour. I’m easily distracted, my husband works from home, and, at the time, my sons were still living at home. No one had their own room to hide away in and lock the door, so it’s complicated for any of us to find a place to ourselves even for an hour. There’s always someone walking through, asking a question, or popping off a bit of conversation.

Funny that only now to I understand my husband’s plight. He’s worked from home for nearly fifteen years. Our old house had a separate office room that he could shut the door and work in peace in, but this house, while it had everything else we had always wanted, didn’t come with enough rooms for that. His office here is one end of our bedroom. I walk through there several times a day, either on my way to the laundry room behind the garage, the garage itself, or to use my bathroom.

If you know me at all, you know I can’t help but talk, so when I see him, I usually stop to say hi or tell him something that seems pretty important. You know, things I NEED to tell him, like the dog did something funny, or the article that irritated me on the internet, or that I’m going to the grocery store. I never thought they were big interruptions until I started trying to write every day. The man has the patience of a saint and should be rewarded medals!

It’s hard enough for me to focus when I’m completely alone. My phone rings, or I get a text message. There’s a blog post I want to read, something I need to look up. There’s a bird out the window, a sound outside that I need to investigate. Then I think maybe I should finish the laundry first or do the dishes…oh…wait…do we have something for dinner?

Sitting down to read or write in earnest while living here among other humans presents another issue: they are here. Their mere presence distracts me. What is my son looking for in the kitchen? What is that song he is humming? Yes, I’ll be done soon and then you can play your guitar. No, didn’t make cookies last night. Why are you wearing that shirt?

Oh! Look! A squirrel!

It’s hard people. This same thought process applies to almost every aspect of my life. Going to the grocery store is not an easy “just drop in” task.

So here I am today…just now wondering where in the heck I was going with this! The trailer! Right!

Last time I tried to write for NANORWRIMO I was using the trailer for an office and it worked perfectly. It’s like a focus box; small and sparse, separated from the rest of the house. No one can walk by or through, accidentally interrupting my train of thought. I walked in, sat on the couch, set my timer for one hour and started typing. I stopped, thought, re-read, edited, all without outside influence. That is, until my cat found me. I had to let him in so he would stop meowing outside. The first time I opened that door, he walked in as if this is where he always lived, jumped up onto the table and sat in the window until I was done.

Today, as I was eating my delicious sauerkraut, (You remember the sauerkraut, don’t you?), I was reminded by the calendar that it was November 1st and that I could jump right in and create some stories this year, maybe use the same prompts for ideas!

But wait…I won’t be home a lot of this month. I have two road trips and Thanksgiving to host.

So what?! Write every day but those! Something is better than nothing. It’s like a healthy diet. You don’t eat crap every day just because you’re planning on going to Disneyland to graze like a sheep in a field that month!

Myself and I have the best conversations. Myself is a supporter of doing things. She encourages everything I have a mind to do. Me, on the other hand, tends to be a bit of a Debbie Downer. Me likes to remind me of all the things that can go wrong and how much of a fool I might look like if I tried and failed. I try not to listen to her. Luckily Myself was the loudest this morning.

I opened up my laptop and looked for that website where I go the prompts last time. I enjoy their posts…what was the name…writer something. I found it! Writers Write! Download the graphic of this month’s prompts. (Remember? I’m a procrastinator!) Save it, make it the background picture on my laptop, make it fit right so I can see it each morning and be reminded.

Hmm…open a new document. Write down the first prompt. Create a new folder, save the file. Should I put the picture in? Nah. But definitely make sure the link works. Oh wait…I’ll sign up for their reminders! Husband walks in to talk on his smoke break (the plumber is digging outside his “office” door). I’ll need coffee for this… No, Michelle, just write something.

And here I am thirty minutes later. Day one. Done.

Technically, I’m not participating in NANOWRIMO. I’m not really writing a novel, and I’m just not a joiner, so I decided to go it alone, instead. I’m committed to writing creatively for thirty minutes each day (unless I really can’t because I’m on a road trip), riffing off the November prompts I found on Writers Write. The post may or may not actually be related to the prompt. Like this post. Unless you consider this 1100 words to be the “ruins” of the original prompt. That’s pushing things though, even for me.

I’ll come back and link all the other posts I write from prompts to this one. You’ll love it. Trust me, this is going to be a fun month!

The last time I mentioned NANOWRIMO was back in December of 2019 in Pain, Cats, and New Books! My favorite post from that November’s practice was POP – A Love Story.

Want to read the next one? Check out “Try? Maybe I Just Don’t Want To.”
Earlier This Morning I Wouldn’t Have
A Little Writing Anarchy: “Bought & Paid For”

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