When I think of the writing contest NaNoWriMo,I picture myself sitting in front of the computer at 2 a.m. while nursing my newborn and wondering what in the world I was thinking when I signed up for it that second year. Not only did I commit to the month-long write-a-thon while welcoming a brand new human being into our life, I agreed to write a weekly column for the Statesman Journal documenting the experience. It was a crazy, cool month but with the whole sleep deprivation thing I'm afraid it didn't yield The Novel of a lifetime. What it did do, though, is open the door for focusing on my writing at a time when it seemed impossible. I also got some good free-writing out of it.
That being said, I won't be doing it again for awhile. While I encourage anyone intrigued by the idea to jump in because it truly was an awesome experience, two years was enough for me until I complete a few of the books I've already started. The thing about NaNo is you have to start a project from scratch Nov. 1st with the goal of finishing it by the end of the month.
When I decided to sit out NaNo earlier last month, it was because I knew I had my own deadline approaching for a finished manuscript of Breaking Branches. The deadline I so boldly, and ugh! publicly set, in the face of being pregnant with an ever-evolving toddler. Read that: getting taller and reaching new heights, so to speak. I think I mentioned our recent run-in with Poison Control after he manged to climb up to the medicine cabinet I was so sure was out of his reach. Nothing, it turns out is out of his reach now that he's demonstrated what a clever little guy he is.
While I proved to myself that I could write, a lot, even as I adjusted to my new role as Sam's mama I also am realizing that there's a point I need to call "Uncle!" All this is to say, I've arrived at that point.
My writing is fractured again as I fight exhaustion to meet my word count goals. I'm edgy and frustrated when I pick rest over work and I'm back at that point where I feel like no matter what I'm doing at that moment, I should be doing something else.
At least I was feeling that way before I had myself a nice little meltdown and broke down on Matt. He looked at me like I was crazy. (In his defense, I was a little). Then he simply suggested I change my deadline.
"But I already set it."
"Right. So YOU can change it."
"But I announced it on my blog."
"And mostly people who like and care about you read it, right? You've said it's been an awesome source of support for you."
"Yes but ..." He kind of had me there. Then I remembered why I set the date in the first place. "But if I don't finish it now, I'll never do it. NEVER!" (There was crying at this point. Near hysteria.)
It turns out plenty of women have achieved many of their personal goals after becoming mothers. It's just hard to admit that sure, you can have it all, just not at the same time. Sometimes you have to pick your priorities and as badly as I want to finish this novel and send it out into the world, I want to grow a healthy baby, prepare for his arrival, enjoy my last weeks with Sam as an only child and, frankly, sleep while I can. Without having some help with Sam, I can't do those things plus keep working in middle-of-the-night margins. I intend to keep plucking away at it, though I haven't figured out my new goal yet. I will, of course, keep you posted.