Saturday, October 5, 2013

Free Advertising

Ashleigh had her first SAT today and as chance would have it we were short on #2 pencils, water bottles, and snacks - all things recommended for students taking the SAT. I don’t recall being told I could bring a snack or drink when I took the SAT but times, they do change. With a grocery store on the way, a quick stop to grab the required items was no problem.

Knowing that I was going to spend the morning cleaning, I threw on an old pair of shorts and the first winner’s t-shirt I ever bought from NaNoWriMo. It’s my favorite simply because it was the first one I was ever qualified to buy. Soft grey cotton, bold orange block lettering, and a squirrel saying “Whoa!” What’s not to love?
Image source
Ashleigh and I were walking down aisle 8 looking for #2 pencils when a man - probably about my age or maybe just a touch older - came striding down the aisle, a basket in his hand. He was a ginger, so of course I noticed him. And he had a beautiful, rugged full beard. But what struck me the most about him was his deliciously bright hot pink shirt, shorts, and socks. He had on black running shoes and a number pinned to his shirt so I can only assume he was doing some sort of run, probably for breast cancer (because that’s all October is about now-a-days).

As he approached, he slowed down, hesitated, his stride broke and he looked me up and down. He regained his footing and continued on. Curious, I kept my eye on him because - well, he’s a ginger! And I never get perusals. He got about ten feet beyond me and then turned and looked me up and down. Again!

Folks, I was floored. Dumbstruck. Flabbergasted. Getting one glance almost never happens and a second one is unheard of. 

He walked a few more feet, stopped, turned fully around, and caught my eye.

“I love your shirt,” he says. “I’ve thought about giving it a try and just haven’t .”

Of course, my shirt, my walking billboard to NaNoWriMo. I laugh.

“You should give it a try. It’s a lot of fun.” I tell him. By this time, Ashleigh and I have successfully acquired #2 pencils and were heading back up the aisle towards the guy.

We start walking together.

“My friend does it and keeps trying to get me to do it too,” he says.

“That’s how I got started.” I reply, “You know there’s a small group that tries to meet at Barnes and Noble, usually in the mornings-”

“Oh. I teach,” he interrupts.

“Well, the time is flexible.” I tell him as his pace quickens. Am I being too outgoing? Too pushy? “The website is,” I tell him and slow down a little.

He strides on ahead of me. “Thanks, maybe I’ll look into it.”

He continues walking. I continue walking. Following right behind him. Crap. He’s going to the same aisle that I need to go down.

“Now I feel like I’m stalking you,” I laugh.

He turns around and smiles. “No problem.”

Is he creeped out? Was that a forced smile? Am I reading too much into it?

Social awkwardness at it’s best.

He beelined down the personal care aisle and I made for the cheese and dairy aisle. We parted ways, but jeesh, wouldn’t you know it, back at the register, who am I behind?

So, I’ll take a second and throw out an apology to the guys over at NaNoWriMo. I tried advertising and recruiting for you. I don’t think it worked. Maybe next time I’ll leave it at, “Gee thanks. You should give it a go,” and walk away.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Write Way to November

Last year, between a whole bunch of crazy, I decided to forgo my usual November pastime: NaNoWriMo or as I like to call it, No Sleep November. At the time it was the best thing for me to do. Honestly, last year, a month of bizarre writing schedules was just not something I could handle nor commit to. But it was like a punch in the gut when I dropped out. I felt like a tool, disappointed in myself for allowing myself to contrive a nicely wrapped gift package of excuses.

I told myself I hadn’t prepped my story enough. Then I decided I hated the story I was telling. Then I spun into a cycle of “who am kidding,” and found myself staring at a blank screen on my netbook and empty lines in my NaNo notebook - I get a new one every year and all those pages made my head spin, my heart pound. Was this real? I asked myself. Am I having an anxiety attack over something that is supposed to be fun?

So I stopped. Cold. Dead. In the middle of a sentence, I closed the document, did not save, turned off the computer, and walked away from the table.

I was done.

I’m not sure what I regret the most: dropping out or trying to start in the first place knowing I wasn’t feeling it.

Truth be told, I had actually put NaNo out of my mind until yesterday when I got the first official updates from the NaNo people in my inbox. And I panicked!

I’ve got nothing planned! I’ve got too much on my plate! I’m working now - crazy work hours with an even crazier sleep schedule!

After my moment of sheer and utter panic, I stopped and shook my head in disbelief. What am I doing, I thought? I’m already making excuses and I‘ve got a month. I’ll never get anything done unless, you know, I actually go and do it. I love NaNo. I love the crazy, the fast-pace, the insane daily word counts, the weaving and crafting of a story (no matter how much I might think it sucks). I love my few hours at Barnes and Noble typing furiously and drinking buckets of coffee.

I know that I’ve got a good half dozen story ideas that I can plan out this month and be ready to commit to writing in November. So here I am making a public commitment. Call me out on it if you think I’m slacking. Demand that I post my word count in prominent locations. Throw crazy ideas my way and challenge me to make something out of them. I’m game.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October Revolution

It would be great to say I was so entirely busy with my life that I just didn’t have time for blogging, but I try to be honest here so I can’t claim busy as an excuse. In all honesty, there really isn’t one single excuse.

I lost interest.
It became a chore.
I had nothing good to say.
I was doing other things (not too busy mind you, just pursuing different creative outlets).

All sound pretty…excusey.

I could throw this one out there: My eldest got obsessed with interneting and because of that my interest diminished.

And that almost comes to the point. In fact, if I’m going with excuses that one is the only one I would lay claim to. As her interest developed, I started paying attention to my internet habits and realized how much time I actually spent online. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, spending time online, but I saw how much time I could reclaim for other activities.

The time spent at work, much of it while the girls were at school, limited our family time and interneting sucked even more time away.

I stopped writing blog posts, I stopped reading blogs, I stopped clicking on links. I checked my email and Facebook a few times a day, the weather and the news, and then I walked away from the computer. I crafted, played, cleaned, worked.

But even that is an excuse.

There were plenty of times that I thought to myself: Ooo! I should blog this! But didn’t. I didn’t feel like sitting down at the computer. So I made notes to myself and moved on with my day.

So yeah, maybe I just needed a break.

Let’s go with that: needing a break. You saw other blogs and that’s okay. We were on a break. But I want back in.