This post is probably more appropriately titled: SEPARATING THE MEN FROM THE BOYS
NaNoWriMo started off so well for me. Even though I was fighting a nasty cold, I jumped right in with both feet. I wrote 1800+ words the first day, and then 2500 the next. The following few days brought even more, with 4337 one day and 2726 the next. I was building a nice cushion for myself-a buffer, if you will. I really wanted to make that as big as possible because I learned last year that I need it. I lost my steam for a bit at the end of last year’s WriMo, and I wouldn’t have won had it not been for the buffer.
But then I got sicker. My cold that I thought was going away got worse. After fighting it for a couple of weeks, it got really bad. One night late, I was so sick that I almost went in to the urgent care. By that point, I had already missed a couple of days. No big deal, right? I can make that up. I’m a fast writer. Well, the following day (Monday), I finally went in to the Dr. because I could tell things weren’t right. I may have the lungs of a racehorse and the heart of a champion, but that only gets you so far. The Dr. told me I had bronchitis and the early stages of pneumonia.
I was absolutely wiped. He gave me some antibiotics and steroids. After a couple of days I started feeling better, but still really tired. Over time, I got back to normal and had the strength and will to start writing again. The first few days back I was SO buried with work after being out so much, that I was exhausted at the end of the day and just couldn’t bring myself to write.
That’s ok, I kept telling myself. I’ll pull out of the hole. I can do it. It’s Thanksgiving. I have the whole week calendared out. I’ll make it up. Well, those plans didn’t work out so well either. After having missed so much work, I ended up putting in overly full days Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. No writing those days either. Just too tired. Yesterday was thanksgiving, and it just didn’t work out, despite my best intentions.
So today my wife said she wanted to go over to her family’s again. Her sisters (that we don’t see very often) are all down from college with their husbands. “Perhaps I’ll just stay home and write,” I said, excited at the prospect. “If you really need to,” she replied (queue puppy dog eyes). You think that stuff works on me? I’m a man. This is my castle. I rule this roost. So, I did what any self-respecting man would do. I jumped in the car and went to her parents, grabbing my netbook as I walked out the door. I’ll write when we get there, I thought, even though I knew it wouldn’t actually happen.
We spent the first several hours hanging around and visiting. Then all the girls decided to go to the store. I was sitting on the recliner, feet up, and popped open my netbook. I was tired. I thought about closing it and having a nap. In fact, I REALLY wanted a nap. I’ll just wait till tomorrow to write, I thought. Imagine my sheer horror when I looked at my NaNo site and realized that in order to win I have to write 4,400 words per day for the next 8 days.
NO! I knew that if I waited one single more day, that the hole would be too great to climb out of. I had crazy thoughts of just giving up on NaNo this month. I thought maybe I would just fudge it a little–write solid until the end of the month at a regular pace and then just fudge the numbers, promising to make up those words the first few days of December. These were all thoughts I had, and all of them were attractive. But I didn’t give in. I had made myself a promise at the beginning of this month that I would win. AND WIN I WILL!!!
So, I got ready to type. 4400 words is not impossible for me. I’ve done that a few times, though I normally hover in the 2500 word range for a good evening of writing. Keep in mind, I’m not a full-time writer. I’m a full-time attorney with a wife and 4 kids and a house and honey-do’s and all other manner of time sinks. The thought of 4400 words a day for the next 8 days seemed impossible. But, as I said, I am winning this thing.
Before I knew it, I had passed 2500 words. Normally I would be happy to stop there, but not today. My wife got back from the store about then. We ate dinner and decided to leave. I had to keep writing. I convinced her that she needed to drive the hour back home, even though she hates driving. My kids all fell asleep in the back of the car, and I typed like a mad man all the way home. Boom, another 1900 words, and I hit word 4500 as we turned into our subdivision.
After a few minutes of relaxation, we sent the kids upstairs, and I jumped back on the computer again. It’s now 12:00 a.m., and I am spent, but not without another 1600 words, bringing the grand total today to 6,100. That’s the most words I’ve ever written in a day. And, better yet, I wrote so much extra, that my daily required word count to meet my goal is now only 3,681. That’s a little more manageable.
I don’t have any plans for tomorrow, and my goal is to have another monster day of writing. If I can get close to what I did today, that will make a huge dent in my current deficit.
You can see in the image below my flat line beginning on day 8. I had 14 consecutive days with no writing. That’s half the month. Essentially, I have to write 50,000 words in 16 days this time.