Killjoys, make some noise!

by Shannon

This is pretty much what I want out of life.

NaNoWriMo is over! And I don’t know what to do with myself! This is the feeling that so many people always talked about after they won, which I always missed because I always gave up two weeks in. But here I am, floundering in the wasteland that is the real life I can no longer semi-justifiably ignore, grasping for deadlines and obsessions like a kid at swimming lessons scrambles for the edge of the pool. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

See, the thing is, the looming and impossible deadline did help me make significant process–I won, by the way. I validated at 50,003 and still hadn’t got my sailors onto their ship–but more than that was my need to prove to myself that I could get to that deadline, and even more than that, that I could get to that deadline without caring about the quality of what I was producing. And I did it. I got to 50k of total utter crap and I know it–hell, I knew it as I wrote it–but if possible I’m more in love with my characters than ever.

The problem is that after a month of forsaking obligations and shunning all social opportunities to force myself through the horrible word-count debts that things like family and holidays and employment cast me into, and successfully negotiating that, I can no longer ignore my life. I have work to do, and grocery shopping to do, and Christmas shopping to do, and lots of overdue cardio and the muffin tops to prove it. And NaNoWriMo came neatly packaged with daily word goals and a cruel, steep gray line to measure your dearth of progress. Life doesn’t have a gray line!

The fact of the matter is that I’d like to do two thousand words a day in real life but I don’t know if I can do that for real? I may have to try aiming for 1k a day, just to have some kind of artificial daily deadline to impose upon myself. I don’t know. At the moment, I can do a bit by hand at work. It was easy to write a thousand words during the day at work when I had a deadline in three days–boy did I scribble furiously and with inhuman focus (and penmanship)–but it somehow feels different without that. Which is fine. I want to write in life, not November, so I need to get used to this.

With the end of November, I have at least been enjoying listening to different music. I can finally listen to something else! I have this problem where in order to write I often have to create a consistent mood. This often involves listening to the same song on repeat for an indefinite amount of time, or at least until my family goes away. So, right now, I am listening to My Chemical Romance just because I can. I almost forgot how wonderful music that was not on my pre-screened Molly Worthington list could be! Especially “Danger Days,” which is bright and ambitious and energetic and everything I want in my writing. (This is another thing I learned during NaNoWriMo: that my snobbish literary ambitions were complete crap, and when it comes down to it, I just want to write something fun.) Speaking of which, have any of you heard the special version of their song “Sing,” entitled “#SINGitforJapan?” Because it is brilliant. My eyes welled up the first time I saw it, and it gives me chills every time:

Anyway. In something that is related both to my post-NaNo panic and my now-unignorable life, I have decided that I need a personal fitness NaNoWriMo. If deadlines worked for this, maybe they’ll get my ass to the gym on a regular basis, right? So, Chad, Sara and I committed to doing the Philadelphia Down & Dirty Mud Run in July. Registrations are not open yet, but they cost $50, which will force us to not back out. And adventure races seem like so much more fun than regular exercise that I want to be in good shape to do them. Did you know there is a run where ZOMBIES CHASE YOU? OR another one where you get a viking hat and beer and LEAP OVER FIRE?

Deep down, it seems that I am nothing but a seven year old boy. I want to tell stories about pirates and sword fights and laser guns in the desert, and I want to swim through giant pools of mud. And I guess that’s okay.