In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I bought a new coffee maker. Until now, we’ve lived on instant (I know, I know). I also pledged to keep my calendar clear for the month of November (with the exception of Thanksgiving and the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2). I have a tendency to over-commit my time and energy, so this was a challenging but necessary vow. In the weeks leading up to NaNo, I was doing well with it. Dentist appointments, doctor appointments, home repair work, meetings, I scheduled it all to happen before November because I was determined to spend the month in a well-caffeinated, productive state.
And then Sandy blew into town just days before NaNo, leaving us without heat, lights, or electricity to fire up the coffee maker. She tore up our yard, knocked down a tree, and blew over our mailbox (which I was actually happy about because I’ve been wanting a new one).
We lived by candlelight for three days, heating our home with our wood-burning fireplace and eating our non-perishables. Fortunately, our power came back on the day before NaNoWriMo began. But, as it goes, this is the year I offered to host Thanksgiving (remember what I was saying about over-commitment?), and I realized that in order to get the house and yard back in shape before NaNo, I had to forgo working on my outline in favor of raking leaves, picking up sticks, and righting the mailbox (until we get around to buying a new one) (p.s. why are mailboxes so damn expensive?). By the end of the day, order had been restored and on November 1st, I brewed my first pot of Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee and jumped into NaNoWriMo flying blind.
Unfortunately, all of those appointments I mentioned got rescheduled smack dab in the middle of the first week of NaNo. So rather than sitting calmly in front of my computer, sipping delicious coffee and penning a masterpiece, I was scrambling to write between teeth cleanings and flu shots.
And then the acid reflux started.
I’ve never had acid reflux before, so I can only assume it’s the result of the new coffee I’m brewing. It’s a real treat. Every morning, I wake up at 4 a.m. with waves of hydrochloric acid charging up and down my esophagus. (You can imagine how much my productivity benefits from this). I’ve discovered that the only relief comes when I eat bread because it acts as a sponge and soaks up all the acid. Unfortunately, November was also supposed to be my “low-carb, drop a few pounds before the holidays” month. (See with the overcommittment?) But between Superstorm Sandy and the coffee machine that’s trying to kill me, I’m officially under-caffeinated, lagging behind in my word count, and sporting carb belly. And we’re not even half way there!
Despite all of the setbacks, I’m more determined than ever to reach my writing goal of 50k words in a month. (Okay, the thought of quitting has crossed my mind once. Technically twice.). But what NaNoWriMo has forced me to do – and why I won’t give up on it – is prioritize writing every day, which, sadly, is something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing. And all of these challenges that are being thrown in my path? They’ve led me to the realization that being a writer (during NaNoWriMo and beyond) means fighting for your writing time. Because no matter how well you plan, life will find a way in.
What is NaNoWriMo teaching you?