Aim High…and then re-adjust

So it’s National Novel Writing Month, which means I’m supposed to be writing a whole book in November. Like, with a beginning, middle, and end. Like, with characters who have names other than “he” and “she.” Like, with a plot and everything. Seriously, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

But I’m not a total failure; I do have a plot. And a beginning. If a beginning means I’ve gotten a few words past, “Once upon a time…” Which I have. 2,698 of them, to be exact. But even I know that books have waaay more words than that. And since I wrote to the founders of NaNoWriMo and asked if we could change the name to NaShortStoryWriMo and they said NO!, I have a long way to go. But I figure if I write 8000 words a day, give up sleeping except for maybe an hour a night, forego bathing and all forms of basic grooming (does this really matter if I’m sitting in a chair behind a computer all day?), and double up on Milk Duds (a hardship I’m willing to endure), I just might make my goal by the end of the month.

It could happen.

But with my goal-achieving track record as of late, it ain’t looking pretty.

Take my memory, for instance. I’ve been determined to have a better one. And then two days ago I went to the store twice, and both times I forgot to buy toilet paper. And we were down to one roll. So suddenly I didn’t care about my memory anymore. The only thing I cared about was making it to morning without running out, because I just couldn’t bring myself to go back to the store. I’m there so often that I’m starting to feel stuck in an episode of Cheers, where everyone knows my name and any minute now all the workers will turn and yell “Amy!” when I walk inside. And they don’t even have drinks and peanuts to offer me. Or a place to sit. So I took my chances on the toilet paper thing. (We made it, by the way. Woo.).

And then there’s my mothering. I love my children more than anything, and I want to be the best one I can be. This keeps me awake at night. I spend time praying about this, thinking about this, hoping for this, dreaming of this. And then one of my children ticks me off and I ground them for life. And another spills chili on the carpet and I…ground them for life. And then all of my children have a scream-fest at each other and I slam my bedroom door and…ground myself from my children.

And then there’s my cooking. I want to be a better one. So earlier this week l loaded up my crock pot with chicken and vegetables and salt and pepper (because I’m convinced that Julia Child also used a crock pot but just never wrote about it), and then forgot to turn it on. So we ordered pizza instead.

It’s been a tough week.

So back to the novel thing. I figure the month isn’t over yet. Over the next fourteen days, maybe I’ll turn it into National (Half-a) Novel Writing Month. Half is better than nothing. Something to strive for. Something to feel good about. A start.

Which is what I’ll do. As soon as I open this door and walk out of my bedroom. I think I hear the sounds of happy children again. For now.


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