For thirty days writing was my top priority.

I was determined to reach the National Novel Writing Month goal of 50,000 words in a month, so I put my book first. Everything else came second (hence my absence here). I would drop Aidan off at school, go straight to the library and, after a half an hour or so checking email, etc., I’d turn on freedom and go! Most days I’d write for 3-4 hours. I’d bring lunch with me and take breaks only to grab another chai or browse the children’s floor for superhero or Scooby Doo books for Aidan. (He always expects a treat on days that I work at the library.)

On Wednesdays I’d do my spinning class before heading to the library. On Thursdays I’d write for three hours, then race off to 12:15 yoga. Some weeks I’d squeeze in another workout, some weeks I couldn’t, but I never did my usual 4-5 days.

On weekend days, I’d stake out an hour and a half or two hours, while Aidan and Harlan were at a museum or kicking a ball around a park. I even insisted upon that time when Harlan’s parents were in town (for four days) and mine (for over a week!) and freaked out only once, a couple days after Thanksgiving, when my parents were still staying with us and I realized I’d skipped three days and had a lot of catching up to do.

I threw a hissy fit, made dramatic proclamations about how I had to reach the goal and how much I would hate myself if I didn’t. And then I went back to writing, one, two, three hours a day, until I crossed the finish line—one day early.

Then I tried to write one more gratuitous day. Strangely enough, I couldn’t. On that very last day, I hit mad writer’s block for the first time. Couldn’t figure out what happened next. Couldn’t write a scene. Could barely write a word.

So, I did it! I “won,” as they say on the NaNoWriMo site. (When you verify your word count on the last day, a video pops up of everyone who works for the organization shouting, “Woohoo! You won!” It was surprisingly gratifying!)

And once it was over, man, did I have a lot of crap to catch up on. I had to return a sweater, two pairs of boots, a set of wine glasses and a pair of jeans! I’m only about halfway through the returning errands alone! I had to make dentist appointments for Aidan and me, and we all know how dental appointments beget dental appointments: I had one today and have another tomorrow and another the day before we leave town for the holidays.  It’s all boring crap that’s not worth mentioning, but the point is I’m barely finding the time to write anymore.

So how am I going to finish my book?

A friend on facebook said, “Too bad there’s not National Novel Editing Month!” How true. I need a deadline! I can prioritize the writing if I have to, but have a really hard time doing so if I don’t.

So, what do I do?

I wrote a lot of chapters, but now I have to do the heavy lifting: building a foundation, figuring out what my story’s really about, developing my characters, finding my story’s structure and its arc. I am truly excited about this part of the process, because I know this is when the book will start to become a good one. But I also know it will get written only when I convince myself that my writing is worth making the time for.

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