I am tired, so very tired. Exhausted. Who knew that standing at a cash register for eight hours could wear a body down? My feet hurt, especially my heels, and my knees ache, especially the “pits” where the tendons stretch behind the knee-joint, probably because I hyper-extend my legs and lock them into a standing position. I come home and want to do nothing but recline on the sofa and watch television with my legs sprawled out on the padded cushions.
I still find time to sit at the computer, but my legs grow restless in that position. I have no room under my desk to stretch them out or prop them up. I find myself reading fewer online articles and following fewer random links these days, sticking to my core list of bookmarked sites to visit daily. This is not necessarily a bad thing. While my body may be rebelling against the Internet, my mind has sought out other sources of input. My job has kept me away from technology on my lunch breaks, and this has given me time to read more novels.
For a while, I tried to use my time between customers to think about my own novel. I would let my mind wander, and I jotted down ideas on scraps of paper tucked into my back pockets. I now have a small pile of scraps which I have not gone back to read, and I’m feeling no better about my novel than I did when I stopped working on it months ago. I think I need a break from thinking about it altogether.
I had been thinking for some time now that my experiment with NaNoWriMo had reached its conclusion. I tested myself, I learned about my strengths and weaknesses, I accomplished my goals — because I did not set my goals very high. I wanted to give it a try, and I did try for several years in a row. Now the organization is running NaNo events several times each year, and the novelty (no real pun there) has worn off for me. It is no longer a special occasion.
There is a show here on ABC called “Wipeout” which also used to be a special occasion, airing for only a few months out of the year. It was escapist television, summer fluff, and my family enjoyed it together when it was something new and different. Then ABC created “Winter Wipeout”, which was somewhat different but came on when we didn’t need the diversion. Then a year later, they started airing new episodes twice each week, and that’s when we reached saturation point. The more they produced, the less we wanted to watch. We were exhausted. We now skip it, even when there is nothing else to watch.
That was how I was beginning to think of NaNoWriMo. I am not obligated to participate in every event. Maybe I should skip starting something new until I put some serious effort into working on a second draft of my last project. I’ve heard others in my own writing group say that they’ve gotten all they needed from past NaNoWriMo events and would not return in November.
So why did I just sign up to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo next month? To be honest, it was their new feature which allows me to set a smaller goal. My seasonal job will still be taking up my time at least through the first week of July, and my body will still not want to be sitting at a keyboard for hours. I think I will do better by aiming for only 500 words per day, something more in line with the size of a blog post. In fact, I’ve decided to structure my project more like a series of blog posts rather than a novel. Camp NaNo lets me get away with being such a rebel.
The main characters from my last novel have haunted me long enough. It is time to wipe them from my mind and start fresh. I am putting away my scraps of paper, for now.