Tuesday, November 1, 2011
A Sensible Girl
So today is November 1st. It is the first day of the November is Novel Writing Month annual challenge. But wait. I have 40 Independent Book projects to grade, 20 mini-research papers to score, 20 Creative Writing portfolios to assess, 20 essays coming in tomorrow, and don’t get me started on my list of AP work I need to do. I am seriously behind. That is what sickness, an out-of-state curriculum work conference, and jury duty can do to a busy teacher. I have lessons to plan, materials to photocopy, parents to email, and letters of recommendation to write. There are new initiatives at work to develop, paperwork to complete for administration, and an expense report to do so I can pay my November Visa bill. I already take time each evening to write a blog post after making dinner for my family, justifying the writing as my daily therapy, and I have a 6 month old puppy who needs her exercise, as do I. There are bills to pay, housework to keep at, and oh yes, the normal taxiing and PARENTING that comes with having three children (even if one of them is away at college). I hear it’s a good thing to take time to talk to your husband too each day. And I have extended family who depend on me to keep in touch with them. If I’m lucky, I still have a few friends who forgive me for having abandoned them. And oh yes, certainly not to be listed last on this list, there’s GOD. I have some weekend cantoring for church to practice too.
So certainly, I am not going to undertake this novel writing challenge, right?! To meet the project’s goal I would have to churn out 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1667 words a day, roughly three single-spaced pages of writing every 24 hours. To take on this challenge would be crazy. There are only so many hours in a day after all.
It’s one thing to pursue our passions in life but we all have our limits. I love writing but I’ve already begun to neglect exercise and I’m sneaking too many pretzel M&Ms lately. And despite being a woman who needs a good 10 hours of sleep a night but who should settle for getting 8 hours, I am lucky if I manage to get 6 hours of shut eye. This is NOT good. This could have serious repercussions on my health. I know this. I need to be smart about all this.
What would participating in this novel writing challenge do for me anyhow? The challenge is all about output after all. I could easily write 50000 words of crap! I could jump in only to realize that I have absolutely no talent in writing fiction. It has always been mystifying to me how novelists can design their plots and their characters to such lengths. I am just not sure I have it in me, even if I did have the time to pursue this crazy idea. And just WHAT would I write about? Where would I start?
It’s time to start saying “No”. It’s time for me to be grown up and to face reality. To do this challenge would be crazy. I have no time. I have too much to do already. I need to be responsible and give up on this foolish dream of being a writer.
If only I was a sensible girl. If only I did not believe that pursuing one’s passions is a noble pursuit. If only I did not worry about living with regret. I may indeed be crazy and I may not be successful in my attempt with this challenge, but to tell you the truth, I don’t care. Today I began a novel.