Chloe knows that I want to make a go of writing. We’ve talked at length about the concept for the kids’ book that’s been percolating for several months in my ever-distracted brain. She also knows that I’ve been working on all manner of projects while procrastinating on the one that matters most to her (or at least the one that she finds most compelling).
Over the weekend Chloe hounded me to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, as it’s affectionately called), which takes place in November. During a 30-day long marathon, foolhardy souls who register with the organization can attempt to write a novel and be part of a community of like-minded individuals who share similar delusions of grandeur. Last year’s “community” comprised more than 250,000 writers. Approximately one-sixth of the participants actually submitted the minimum 50,000 words required to “win.”
As I started to contemplate whether I could actually accomplish this task, I did some calculations. I realized that 50,000 words over 30 days means writing 1,666 words per day. Which roughly translates to seven double-spaced typewritten pages per day. Which is enough to make me want to run for the hills and cower in fear.
Except that I have a 12-year daughter who would love nothing more than for me to stop talking and start doing. And she’s right. I have 40+ years of experience procrastinating, and now I have lots of new excuses. Like needing to exercise, prepare dinner, do the laundry, do some consulting work, meet friends for lunch, train our new puppy, help Sophie with her homework, plan our next vacation…
So I made a deal with Chloe. I’ll take a stab at putting the proverbial pen to paper if she takes a stab at writing her own work of fiction with the organization’s Young Writers Program. She accepted the challenge (at least in theory).
I now have 38 days to start mapping out my concept so I can hit the ground running come November 1. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing like the incessant badgering of a pain-in-the-ass 12-year old to kick your own ass into high gear.