We are but hours away from the kick-off of NaNoWriMo, and yes, I’m freaking out. I’m excited, but I’m also nervous. The nerves are what I’m worried about. I’m a worrier by nature. I can stay up all night fretting over life’s trials. It’s fun! (Kidding.) I had the best intentions during October to fail-proof my November, and I can say with confidence that I did almost none of the prepping I had intended.
My novel preparations are actually solid. I have an outline that I may or may not stick to, but it is there. A map. I may choose the path around the mountain, but when I get out there I may try to find a way through it. I’ve done a few character development exercises. I’ve even done some sketches. I’ve had fun building this world and the people in it. If I don’t reach 50,000 by the end of November, I will still have a nice amount of art to show for myself. But my LIFE preparations are as haphazard as always. I had grand plans for meal prepping and freezing casseroles. I was going to deep clean every square inch of this house so that maintenance would be the word of the month. Yet, here we are, and my freezer is just full of frozen roasts and chicken, and the dusty bunnies are multiplying under the coffee table. My husband is away on a work assignment (through all of November and then some, so he’s useless…except to, you know…make money…)
I spoke with an old high school buddy and kindred the other day who is in the throes baby raising. He’d tried NaNo last year, (wrote way more than 50,000, by the way) but didn’t feel successful. Thanksgiving got in the way, new baby got in the way, just general life got in the way. He called his manuscript “drek.” I know exactly how he feels. How many times have a I started a project and was completely derailed by a colicky baby or family budget crisis? I actually failed a college exam because my four-year-old started violently puking, and I couldn’t just IGNORE that! Young children are hard. They’re a twenty four hour job, and that’s murderous for creative energy. My friend will write again one day. He will get there. He’s creative and a wordsmith I admire. However, he reminded me of how I must take advantage of my time right now. I am finally here. The magical years of independent kids.
They are all old enough to fix themselves some sort of food. They clean, they bathe themselves, they all read and write. Honestly, sometimes I wonder what they even need me for, anyway! (Hugs, kisses, schooling, and boy advice…and to tell them what temperature to set the oven for cookies…) It feels like a lifetime ago when I was frantically attempting to finish a college final while catching vomit in a towel, and look at us now!
I have a habit of throwing in the towel when things aren’t perfect. This goes for almost anything, and I’m certain I will struggle with it while writing this novel. At least, I’m aware of myself, which is much more than I could have said 10 years ago. The trick will be to work when I don’t feel like it. Work when I’m uninspired. And trust that everything will be okay, even if it isn’t perfection.
It’s important to look back, sometimes. You cannot fully appreciate where you are without acknowledging where you’ve been. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection hinder your growth or stifle your creativity. Create anyway.