November 1, 2012, I was on fire with creativity. This would be my comeback year. After 5 years of falling short and failing to make the mark – I was sure that I could win. Lily slept in to her usual 9am allowing me time to make my minimum word count before the day had even really begun. Oh, yes. This year was mine.
November 2, 2012, I was on fire with creativity. I was madly typing on my keyboard and close to making my word count. Then, Lily woke early. And crabby. And she needed me to sit with her and be close. And pay attention, Mommy. Oh, I was so close. I'm not really behind. I could make up a 200 word lapse easily…
Then Lily fell asleep while I was making dinner. This is the kiss of death for bedtime. Any napping whatsoever ensures a burst of energy that continues deep into the night. Mwa ha ha ha ha.
And so it was.
November 3, 2012, I throw myself out of bed. Lack of sleep has dampened my creative fires, which I stoke with coffee. I'm sluggish. And so is the speed of my brain. And my fingers are dragging themselves across the keys. I can do this. And then Lily wakes early again. And crabby. Now, I'm crabby. Why is my schedule getting all messed up? Why can't she just sleep like she normally does? Am I ever going to be able to find time to write again?
Well, crap. That felt really ucky. So much that I nearly threw in the towel entirely. No more NaNoWriMo. Did I really just resent my kiddo? She is absolutely my priority. This time will only happen once in either of our lives. So – maybe this just means I shouldn't write. At least until she's older.
No. That's not right either. What did that therapist tell you about the all or nothing mentality?
So, I changed the terms of winning NaNoWriMo 2012.
I know. It doesn't really apply. Not to everyone else who busted their butts and actually made their word count. I know that they will never believe that I won NaNoWriMo 2012. Not the way they did. But in a moment of quiet, between diapers and milk cups, I realized that if all I did at this point was reestablish a regular practice of writing – if all the encouragement, of friends and family and the NaNoWriMo community just inspired me to get back on the writing wagon – well, that's huge leap from where I have been the last 5 years. And worlds better than throwing in the towel entirely. So – my terms for winning are just to write in the moments when I have a chance. To spend those quiet moments doing what I want to do – when it is indeed what I want to be doing.
The years when I actually made my word count I made NaNoWriMo the most important thing in the world. I took a week off of work to get a jump start. Then I locked myself in my home office for hours every night the rest of the month.
Now, Lily really is the most important thing in my life. That's right where I want her. That right where she SHOULD be. I like her there. She's two years old. And having other kids that have already left the nest I know how really fast all the rest of my time with her is going to go.
There are moments, though, when she sleeps in, or is content to play, or watch a couple episodes of Dinosaurs. And then I can sit down at the table with my iPad and bluetooth keyboard (thank you, Dad & Mom, for the early birthday gift) and get a couple of paragraphs out.
And so the story is progressing. One or two sentences at a time. I cannot pour myself into another world for hours – so I just have to take a peek into the story when I can and jot down what I see happening. It is a different process – but the writer in me is fed without bludgeoning the Mommy.
At first I just kept telling myself the it wasn't about winning. But then I went ahead and won anyway.
I have NaNoWriMo to thank for teaching me all this. But I don't need November anymore. I can do it every day. Because I'm a writer.