I don’t have any pets (I am told that dust bunnies – despite their seemingly life-like movement across floors – do not count). But after spending time with the dogs of friends and family I have adopted a very canine trait. And that is their tendency to be easily distracted by something, even at the abandonment of a task that requires their attention. They could be happily retrieving a favourite toy, thrown by their devoted owner, when along comes a squirrel and they are off, out of control and seemingly irretrievable.

My current favourite toy is the novel I am working on. And in November, the month where the weather affirms its decision to turn cold, the rain clouds shed their tears more frequently as summer is past and the days are suddenly shorter with the falling back of the clock, my laptop beckons and I join the world-wide phenomenon called the National Write a Novel in a Month contest, or NANOWRIMO for short. With autumn’s aid, writers unite to accomplish the daunting task of writing 50,000 words in thirty days. We writers are determined to focus, to put aside distractions, to do the bare minimum to keep ourselves fed, clean and clothed, all in the hope to type a minimum of 1667 words per day to chip away at the daunting word goal.

But wait, there are squirrels afoot.

Squirrels are rodents. According to the dictionary, rodents are a gnawing mammal of an order that includes rats, mice, squirrels, hamsters, porcupines, and their relatives, distinguished by strong constantly growing incisors and no canine teeth. They constitute the largest order of mammals.

The rodents that have been gnawing away at my ability to focus on my writing include: the to-do list on a post-it note on my bedroom mirror, which all summer was barely visible, but now has taken on a flashing neon Vegas Strip like quality; the oven, which for months had been spotless and sparkling that has suddenly seemed to grow grime and grease; the carpets that need cleaning; friends wanting to go for lunch; and, CHRISTMAS.

Now, I really don’t think too much about Christmas until after Remembrance Day. But once I wake up on November 12th I look ahead to the day we celebrate the birth of Christ.

I love Christmas. I want to go to Christmas craft fairs and markets. I want to drive around and look at all the pretty lights. I want to start pulling out all our decorations and get busy making our apartment cheery and festive. I want to watch every cheesy Christmas movie on TV. I want to do all of this NOW.

In the midst of trying to focus on NANOWRIMO Christmas becomes a Godzilla sized squirrel in my life.

Since November 11th, I have shampooed the carpets with a shampooer a friend happily loaned me to save money;  gone to some Christmas Markets; had lunches with several friends, and yet I have still managed to put a few thousand words on the page. I admit, I am desperately behind in my word count, but all is not lost.  I have 9 days remaining to achieve my word count, so I am determined to leave the decorations in their boxes, not start any baking, not address one card (well, maybe just the ones that have to go overseas), and ignore any new squirrels that scamper past until December 1st.


2 thoughts on “NANOWRIMO 2016”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *