Hair so knotted and clumped that I wake up to find the cats carrying out their daily preening routine on me. I drag myself out of bed, tripping on a box or the carpet or maybe just the air. Huh, tripping on air. I make a mental note to explore that idea more. I glance at the clock on the stove, trying to figure out how I will get everything done today. The revised schedule seems doable. I smile. Oh crap, I forgot to set the clock back yesterday. So I’ve got an extra hour, which means I can fit in two more “why aren’t these done yet?!!” tasks. Now I’m stressed because my schedule feels too full, too overwhelming. I let the dog out. I let the dog in. He drinks a gallon of water while I brush my teeth. When was the last time I brushed my teeth? I let the dog out again. Water runs right through him. I wish I could figure out his trick. Mine always waits until 3:26 a.m. to leave my bladder. I glance at the note I scribbled during last night’s release. An idea for a story: “wind,” “electrocution,” and some word that might be “hairball.” Or “tomato.” “Appendicitis”? I let the dog in. He noses his food dish, then looks up with puppy dog eyes. How on earth did they ever figure out that trigger for humans? Triggers for humans. Is there an idea there? When was the last time I fed the dog? I turn on the computer and wait for it to boot up. I reconfigure my schedule for the day three times before my browser loads. I log on to email and delete all the new messages since last night. No one important is emailing me now. Not this month. I log on to Facebook, telling myself I’ll stay just long enough to make sure that the world hasn’t ended in a fiery heap of ebola-spewing asteroid. An hour later, the UPS driver rings the doorbell, interrupting my search for a woman I met nine years ago at a conference in Tucson. We talked while waiting in line for the bathroom. She said something funny. What was it? The UPS driver plays his version of Ding Dong Ditch, dropping yet another case of liquid energy on the front porch before racing back to his truck. Which is probably smart seeing how I go out to get said case and forget that I’m not wearing pants. (Yeah, November in Nebraska? That’s a briskness to my nether regions that I really don’t need to ever experience again. Brrrr.) Back inside, I consider breaking my one-Monster-a-day rule. I’ve gotten a lot accomplished already this morning. I deserve it, right? I glance at the computer clock. Nearly 11 am. But that’s actually 10 am, so I have 12 hours yet to get everything done. No, the computers change automatically. Crap. So it is 11, which means I’ve been writing for three hours already. So I should have about 2500 words. Halfway there. I can do this. I don’t need another Monster. I am knocking this out of the park. I glance at my actual word total for the day. What? Three hundred forty-four words, which includes about one hundred words of outline notes I wrote back in October? I wonder if my computer has a virus. I run a virus check. All good. I search the internet for why my word count is so low. I read one post. It tells me to develop a subplot. I resist the urge to chase the rabbit down that hole. It’s suddenly quiet. Too quiet. The furries are all sleeping, spread out in two rooms. I should use this time to write. No interruptions. Just let the fingers fly. When was the last time I ate? No, no more distractions. I’ll chew on the ice from my soda. That will be plenty of sustenance. I’ve only got an hour before I have to go to work. Five thousand words in an hour. Piece of cake, right? First, lemme just fire off a tweet about what a stupid idea it was to agree to the 150k-word challenge for November (yes, 150k words — that’s what happens when you’re high on Halloween candy). Then I’ll get down to writing. And it will be glorious.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During this annual event, writers around the world agree to write a novel (50,000 words) in November. Similar events are taking place for non-fiction writers, children’s books writers, and bloggers. If you know a writer and she is a bit frazzled this month or seems a bit odoriferous, consider sending her a support package. Leftover Halloween candy is always a safe bet.