I just got in to Chicago yesterday, for Fall Break. I’ll be here until late Tuesday night, hanging out with Sarah and our parents, getting winter clothing, putting together a Halloween costume, and in general not doing homework. There’s still so much to do that’s not school-related, though, and I keep having to tell my brain, “No! No all-nighters! We like sleep.” And I do. I love sleep. Sleep is the best, and I could use more of it.
I’ve mentioned that I’m not doing National Novel Writing Month this year. However, this little part of my brain that schedules things keeps trying to figure out a way to fit it in. I wasn’t sure why at first. NaNo is amazing, but sooo stressful. A NaNo-er’s November is like being through an emotional wringer – you go from enthusiam to guilt to desperation, and on to a few kinds of wild-eyed madness which may at the time be confused with an epiphany of near-religious proportions. A NaNo author has very little free time, sacrificing friends and family for the pen or the keyboard. A NaNo author sometimes forgets meals, instead choosing to wonder where the next thousand words are coming from.
This blog post by Alegra Clarke made me realize why I still want – hell, ache – to participate for my fourth year. And – imagine my surprise – it’s the stress, and the odd habits I develop as coping mechanisms. As Alegra Clarke says:
November is an excuse to live on a diet of chocolate, coffee, and crunchy-salty foods. It is a month to fully indulge the habits of my strange writer-self, such as walking down the street mumbling as I scribble notes and bump into lamp posts. It is an opportunity to buy a pretty notebook and a smooth-gliding ballpoint. But more than that, completing a NaNoWriMo forever changed the limitations I had previously placed on myself as a writer.
And it’s true. I like putting other things aside and just concentrating on being a writer. I like the stress. I like the work of it. I like complaining about my characters and plots. I like being part of a community of people who are putting on their writer’s hats, who are treating themselves to that Chinese food because they exceeded their daily word count goal.
I only wish I could do it this year too, even with the grad school applications, the computer science capstone project, the webcomic idea frothing around in my brain meats. I wish… but since no fairy godmother’s going to drop down with a freeze ray (stops time; tell your friends), maybe next year.