I have an admission – deep down at my core I am a lazy cow. No really. I know it might not seem it looking at my CV but honestly if I have a choice between lounging on the sofa and watching something totally inane on TV versus doing almost anything else I will lean towards the sofa every single time. And the crazy thing is that I actually enjoy doing the ‘almost anything else’ a lot more than the channel-hoping once I get going, it’s the ‘get going’ that is my big problem. It works with everything in my life from things I hate (washing dishes!) to things I tolerate/somewhat-enjoy doing (exercise!) to things I love (writing/reading!). But on the other side of the coin I love a deadline – especially high pressure short term deadlines – you know the if-you-don’t-get-this-essay-in-on-friday-you-will-fail-your-degree sort of deadlines. I am my most productive and motivated when a deadline is staring me in the face – especially one where if I fail at meeting said deadline I’m going to be horribly embarrassed. I had hoped as I progressed further into adulthood I would have outgrown this immature need for a do-or-die deadline – that the simple pleasure of achievement would take over, that being ‘house proud’ would mean I had a sparklingly clean kitchen at all times, that being a responsible mother would mean I would time manage my life the way we are ‘suppose’ to. But sadly, given that I am 40 in the not too distant future, I think it is safe to say my need for the deadline is firmly rooted in my personality.
When ever I’ve needed to lose weight I’ve gone to my trusty computer and signed on for a local 5K/10K run or some endurance biking event a good number of months away. It works a treat. The shear fear of being utterly embarrassed at not finishing the event, or worse being last, spurs me into an exercise routine that shifts the weight and gets me to race day ready to attack the course. But don’t be mistaken, I am far, far from an athlete. My 10K personal best is right around one hour and I’m pretty sure I was very close to the back of the pack on my first mountain bike marathon (but that was totally the fault of all the trees that kept getting in my way!) But I always have fun doing the event and I succeed in my goal of overcoming the ‘get going’ hump.
And so now that semester is over and I no longer have class imposed deadlines I need to find ways to generate (and enforce) deadlines for my writing so it doesn’t ground to a halt over the summer. I need to find the ’10K fun run’ of fiction writing! The obvious answer to my deadline needs is submission to literary journals. However, to me, getting a piece ready to submit to any publishing forum is more equated to training to do a seriously good time at a race rather than a lets-just-finish-and-if-we-need-to-stop-and-walk-a-bit-that-is-ok sort of training. Not only does the piece need to be written it needs reviewing and editing and polishing and picking at each word choice rather like you pick at a scab on your knee before it is worthy of sending out to be considered for publication. And although, of course, that is the ultimate goal of any writer it isn’t what I’m looking to push my self to do this summer. I haven’t completely figured out what my ‘fun run’ is going to be yet – I’m keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities that push me forward but completely gel with my day job of full time mama – have any suggestions for me? Stick ‘um in the comments below.
When I think of the marathon equivalent of fiction writing, the first thing that comes to mind is NaNoWriMo. Though that doesn’t happen until November, the same organization hosts a Camp NaNoWriMo that happens in April (already done with for the year) and July. There’s also JuNoWriMo (started by a different organization) that’s taking place in June. Those might be options to consider for this summer.
I’ve thought about NaNoWriMo – I’d love to give it a go one year but I think it will have to wait until my toddler is a little older and in school … unless I can train her to do a few hundred words a day for me!