Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo July: Say Yes to Excuses

I had big ambitions for this Camp NaNoWriMo because my schedule was clear, not much going on for July – are you laughing hysterically yet? It’s like I bring it on myself by having this delusion that my schedule won’t fill up the moment I blink. My goal was set to 20,000 words. When I asked Dale for how much I should write when I’ve been trying to do 10k a month, he glibbly says, “25,000 words.” I’m fairly certain he has no idea how many pages of writing that is. I decided to push outside what I thought I could accomplish and still go for 20k. Early this week I caved and brought my goal down to 15k before it got locked in. Right now I am not certain that I will even hit my usual 10k.

Everyone has excuses, I know. That’s why the “no excuses” campaign for working out developed, no doubt. I’m sure it started out well-intentioned, but personally, I loathe that motto. Who gets to tell me that I’m not wise enough to make the judgment for when I need to commit and stick to something and when I need to let it slide for my physical, mental, and emotional well-being? Learn the difference between reasons and excuses and know your priorities. (Rant over.) That’s where I’m at. I wasn’t running at this with a “no excuses” mentality. Some people may be doing that this month and every time. I’m not in that place and there are reasons.

We’re facing my husband getting out of the Navy, finding a job, and moving in the next 2  months. Uncertainty is stressful. Throw in a trip to plan, a family wedding, a half dozen other social commitments, and a list of things we want to do and people want to spend time with before we leave NY. Did I mention I also decided to begin night-weaning my toddler last week for personal reasons? Don’t forget an expensive, time-consuming new diet that takes all of my self-control to stick to some days and whose results are not instantaneous for me. Right now that is my ride or die. I’m not cheating on this elimination diet or I have to start over from day one. To top it off, this week we received unexpected medical bills and issues with multiple doctor referrals. And the final kicker – the Navy has somehow decided that my husband in fact detached on the 15th and has suspended all of our pay even though his actual job site expects him to be there until October.

Those, my friends, are reasons. They are the reason I want to go buy books we haven’t budgeted for and crave junk food that I can’t have (tonight it’s pizza from Sarabella and a chilled canoli). They are the reason I try to write after my daughter is finally asleep but I mostly stare at the screen in a dazed fashion or spend 3 hours hurriedly accomplishing things around the house before 11 pm hits. This is not meant to be a pity-party even though it really does sound like one. We don’t need money and plenty of people I know have far worse things going on. We’ll be fine and things will settle down (probably not before I cave and buy another book though). But in this moment, I’m putting out fires, preparing for a move, and taking the time to see my friends.

I talked before about grace in goal setting. This seems like a prime example of that. I wanted this word count and was depending on it to hit an overall goal. You have to know yourself and learn what you can handle in order to know when to say “no excuses” and tough it out and when to let it go and give yourself what you need. I still need to write, but right now it might not be a thousand words a night to catch up. It might be a therapeutic hour in my journal or quick drafting a blog post to get some things off my chest. I need to sleep and read and enjoy the time that is quickly passing here. So, I’m taking this one thing off the to-do list. If I can, I’ll throw some words in my manuscript. If I want to, I’ll work on some plot outlining. But I refuse to let the stress of this self-imposed goal add to the stress of things that are out of my control. I’m saying “yes” to my excuses.

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