NaNoWriMo - or, National Novel Writing Month - is made for people like me. I obsess, pull all-nighters, shun household duties, etc., and that's during the other eleven months of the year.
Want to know how many days it took me to reach that magical 50K word deadline? I'll have to let you know, because right now I'm sitting at a cool 41,010.
So what happened? A freaking miracle. At last, this single-focused, neurotic person that I am learned how to find balance between my two jobs, my family, and my writing. During NaNo. Go figure.
With two days left, I had 10,000 words to go. The old me resurfaced for a moment, itching to type the nights away in the quiet of a sleeping house. But there was a problem: one of my riding teams had a show on December 1st. That means an EARLY morning and a long day, and, more importantly, kids that really need me. All of me. A bright, alert, focused me. Not a me that hadn't slept in 48 hours. So, for the first time in a very long time, I counted the costs, weighed my options, and my writing lost. I didn't try to squeeze it in. I didn't go for the compromise. I let the other parts of my life come in first, and, more importantly, I didn't get my panties in a bunch about it. I made a choice, and I was happy with it.
I'd love to tell you that we had a spectacular show. That every kid came in first and we rode into the sunset like champions. Unfortunately, it was not our day. Not at all. It was the kind of day that was almost too much to handle, and that was a fully charged, well rested me. I can't imagine that I would've been able to be the coach they needed on a day like yesterday had I burned the midnight oil in the days prior to the show.
I think NaNo is a tool to help writers make their writing a priority in their lives. Funny that NaNo is what it took to make me learn the exact opposite: writing IS a priority, but not at the sake of people who count on me. Of course, I've always been a little contrary.
Yes, I still daydreamed about my plot and my characters about as often as most guys think about, well, you know. So I took notes. Texted myself in the grocery store. Jotted an idea down with a crayon as my daughter and I were coloring in front of the TV. Wrote a bit of dialogue on the show program yesterday. And then, I set them aside - both physically and mentally - until a better opportunity to obsess about them came along.
Thirty days. Forty-thousand words. And finally, the ability to multi-task. I lost. I won. I wouldn't change a thing.