Happy NaNoWeen!

I’m staring down November, but it shows no intention of letting up. It occurs to me that I am procrastinating before the month even begins and that this cannot possibly bode well. I add “Preemptive procrastination” to my list of Reasons Why NaNoWriMo Is Doomed To Failure. Other items on the list include “Motherhood,” “Inability to operate on less than eight hours of sleep (preferably twelve),” and “Being 99.9% certain that I cannot write a book in one month.” I add “Lack of confidence” several times to emphasize the scope of said lack, and I finish the list with a flourish: “Two days left, and I still haven’t decided.”

Each November, I think longingly of all the artsy, motivated writers adjusting their wire-rims and churning out page after page of latte-inspired prose. Every November, I would willingly jump into that world if not for the tethers anchoring me to reality—a child at home, social obligations, medically-induced depression—or so I’ve claimed, at any rate. Now that I actually have mornings to myself, a de-cluttered schedule, and the returned use of my mind, I see the real choke chain around my neck: a paralyzing sense of pessimism.

I simply don’t think I have it in me. I don’t think I’ll be able to play alchemist with the hours I have and turn them into something marketable, something worth letting the dust bunnies procreate for a whole month. I don’t think I’ll be able to sit at my desk on Day 13, look the remaining 30,000 words in the face, and find the courage to keep start writing them. For that matter, I don’t think I’ll be able to whip up 20,000 words during Days 1 through 12. Maybe if I’d already written a book, I’d see this as possible, but from here, it looks like Mt. Everest… and I’m a paraplegic. Without any gear. Mortally allergic to snow.

I add “Paraplegia” to the list, but it doesn’t really matter. No matter how long the list gets, it will never trump my one and only Reason To Go For NaNoWriMo:  “Because if I don’t try, I will never live past the what ifs.” It seems I’ve reached a decision after all.

Forget Halloween. The day after is when the real terror starts.


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  1. Oh my gosh Bethany!!! I am so excited for you! You totally can do it, I know you can! I will be cheerleading from here to there. Any research you need? I will try to find the time. And anything else I can do, LET ME KNOW! Do you have an idea? I can’t wait to hear all about this! (As if you will be blogging… but you will blog in December, right? I have gotten used to you keeping me company while I work everyday. I will miss that. But YAY!)

  2. Go go go! I hope you will blog, too!

  3. You can DO THIS, my friend. Remember: it’s really not about creating something marketable or the Great American Novel. It’s just so you can get SOMETHING out, and have fun along the way. (A crazy sort of fun, but fun nonetheless!) Part of me wants to do it, too! Aaaaaeeeeeeiiii! (I won’t. I have, less than zero of any idea.) But I also will cheer you along and read anything you want to share. I’ve got my pompoms and I’m cheering G! O! W!R!I!T!E!

  4. i think what you call pessimism is what i have always called futility…that sense of “why bother beginning what likely won’t be finished?” or that serves no tangible purpose (at least to my mind at the time.)

    i would hate to miss you blogging but i’m sure you blog more than 50k a month ~ can you turn it into introspective creative narrative for the next 30 days?

  5. You all are wonderful. Wonderful. Every bit of cheerleading helps more than you know! Oh, and don’t worry — I fully intend to keep blogging throughout November. What better way to procrastinate from novel writing? 🙂

  6. Oh goodness.
    I totally love that line: “Each November, I think longingly of all the artsy, motivated writers adjusting their wire-rims and churning out page after page of latte-inspired prose.”
    SO true!
    I feel the same way.
    (groan of frustration)
    Maybe someday. Oh well.

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