This blog entry is 1,053 words. That would be 1,053 words that could've gone to the novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo, but I am determined to keep up all my commitments, even if it kills me.
And we may be approaching that. The issue isn't that I'm behind on the word count, I am, but not by too much (24,932 words right now, I should be 25,005.) But for whatever reason, last week and now most of this week has me at a different evening commitment every night. Even the weekends. And that's just not cool to me. I'm going to have to start turning people down, and it seems like a ridiculous thing to do, to turn down dinner with someone just so I can putter around in the Shabby Shack, chained to my computer.
Hilariously, I have plenty of time to write at work. This newest temp gig is a cakewalk, and I can easily get to 2,000 words every day Monday through Friday because nothing more is required of me than to answer a hardly ringing phone and manage a very laid back exec's calendar. It's wonderful, blissful, even, and I appreciate it so much. I'd like to say God is looking out for me by providing me with a rough six hours of writing time every day Monday through Friday (I do have to work some.)
But then I turn into a greedy brat and want my evenings to be free as well, so I can read. It makes sense, I'm writing a novel, I want to be reading novels, just so I can continue in that mindset. I have a whole stack of them on the coffee table just waiting for me to dive in. But there's a meeting tonight, a dinner the other night, a party there, a concert tomorrow (You guys! Greg Dulli is playing at the Troubadour! Aaaaaaahhhhhhh!) and pretty soon I'm just coming home to sleep for six and half hours before waking up and getting on the hamster wheel all over again.
Ironically, we were discussing learning how to be in God's rest for the class I'm taking after church on Sundays. I took it so seriously, I ended up falling asleep during the class. Luckily, it was during the DVD portion of it, so I didn't stick out too much. I don't snore, see. It helps a lot.
But when we broke out into small groups I came clean about the snoozing and asked the group what I missed about God's rest. To me, the classic definition is ye olde Be Still And Know That I Am God. Stop what you're doing, go sit in a meadow with wildflowers and be with God. Don't even talk to Him. Hear what He has to say to you. My small group informed me that it’s not exactly about stopping what you’re doing so much as letting go of your anxiety and “rest in the peace that Jesus will take care of everything.” I didn’t have the strength to say out loud what was my immediate Crankypants reaction, which was…
“Jesus isn’t gonna write 50,000 words in 30 days.”
I knew one of the benefits of living by myself was going to be increased productivity. And this year alone, I’ve written a new draft of Polka Dotted Platypus, a new draft of Striped Tiger, a first draft of a new pilot, Red Llama, and now this book, which also needs an animal name, let’s call it Black Plaid Salamander. (also a small rewrite on a four page sketch for friends that swear they’re still gonna film it someday.)
My Ex-Roomie Jekyll once said that we all carry a certain amount of pain (whether she was talking physical or emotional is irrelevant) to the point where we don’t even notice it anymore.
I think I’ve been carrying around the feeling of being burnt out on writing, and just not noticing it, due to the wonderful productivity of it all.
Writing is a wonderful denial tool. On Sunday, Augustus and I were writing at a restaurant, trying to get the word count in for the day, and the waiter immediately pegged us as doing the NaNoWriMo thing. Excited to meet fellow participants, he then shared that he was up to 35,000 words, and in the same breath said he started two days late because he had to put his cat down on November 1st. It’s obvious that Overproductive Waiter is using the NaNoWriMo thing as a denial tool, so he doesn’t have to get to the business of grieving about his cat right away.
And I’ve been using NaNoWriMo as a denial tool, to avoid thinking or dealing with the wreck of my life. Things are shaking themselves in a certain direction that I’m not talking about, because we’re not there yet. But after sharing with a new acquaintance over dinner what this year’s been like, she pointed out that I need to take a break. That I need to breathe. That maybe I need to deal with the pain of this year.
Pain? What pain? Leaving the job pain? Disappointment pain that Pink Piggy died on the film distribution vine? Disillusionment pain that I’m this old and my life looks this way and no clear cut way to change it has occurred to me?
If I’m still standing, then the pain simply isn’t that bad. It SOUNDS bad, sure. But I can carry it. I always have.
When I’m in my Boot Camp class, and the instructors are going around and explaining the different stations, I always make it a point to do the worst station first (it’s usually sprints, or running the stairs, or planks and mountain climbers. God, I hate those), to get it out of the way. Do the thing you don’t want to, and get it out of the way.
If I don’t want to take a break from writing, if the thought of say, not writing for all of December scares me, then it’s exactly the thing I need to do. I know this.
If this theme of Not Writing is coming from more than one quarter, than it definitely sounds like God is attempting to get my attention.
Maybe I’d just write half the words I usually write? Compromise?