NaNoWriMo and What I’ve Learned


So, November has come and gone, and my grand total for words written was 3,427. Not even enough to put into the NaNoWriMo engine.

So what happened?

Well, since I never take my responsibility for my own actions if I can help it, I’m going to be blaming it all on The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. My 50,000 word opus vanished into Skyrim’s massive open-ended world like women vanish the moment I mention I’m single. It was gone in a puff of smoke, though luckily without the sucker punch to the stomach that the ladies usually leave me.

I went to the midnight launch at the local Fred Meyer, and let me tell you, that was a thoroughly depressing affair. First of all the poor employees had clearly not been allowed any rest before this launch, and were practically taking  Red Bull intravenously in order to stay awake. I can now see why so many store workers are against the Black Friday sales, which require them to either stay up all night or get up so early even the dead would balk at it. For someone who routinely wakes up at noon, and requires a mid-afternoon nap, that sounds like hell on earth.

Embarrassing thing #2 was that I was a grown man surrounded by fiendish teenagers, with their weird hair, weird clothes and strange dialect. They were playing Skyrim on the PS3 that was setup for the midnight launch, and complaining that the graphics weren’t all that great. Not great!? NOT GREAT!? These young whippersnappers had walked in here and complained about the graphics of all things? It was then, as I looking around for my cane and preparing to start a “Back in My Day” speech that I realized something horrible. I’m old! It’s a terrible realization, and my god, I nearly had to chase them off my goddamn lawn. DARN KIDS!

And pull up your pants!

Okay, so I’m not actually all that old (23). I’m far from the calcified husks that my parents have turned into, but still, I’d never really considered that I was no longer a teenager. I looked around and said to myself “When the hell did I grow beyond this?” obviously it wasn’t just the comment on graphics, but the way they acted and spoke. We really need to start handing out official “You are now an adult” cards to people, because when it sneaks up on you like that, it’s really quite shocking. But anyway, back to Skyrim.

I got home, carefully balancing on my walker, and installed the game. Then everything goes blurry, like a fever dream.

I remember hiking across a vast ice tundra.

I remember fighting a Dragon atop a towering mountain.

I remember giggling like a little girl when a giant smacked me in the face and sent me flying into orbit.

Your mammoth? Ummmm...no I haven't seen it. This pelt and tusks were there when I got here!

I came to several weeks later an emaciated ghost of my former self, my eyes were gaunt, my hands were rigid with fatigue, and I could have carried a cat in each of the huge bags that hung under my eyes. My mouse now has permanent indentations where my fingers had clenched during particularly difficult fights, and I’d fought so many dragons that their image was practically burned into the computer screen. Some of the keys on the keyboard are missing from where my head would crash into it after lapsing into unconsciousness.

Okay, there might be some slight exaggeration. Still, Skyrim sucked me in like a black hole made of Dragons and Magic, crushing me in a perfect singularity of awesomeness.

Yet, I must face the truth. Even had Skyrim not come out this November, I still don’t think I could have completed NaNoWriMo.

Why, you ask? How could I, the world’s greatest living writer possibly fail such a mundane task? How much time will I have to spend in hell for the massive lie in that last sentence?

Well I’ll tell you, (except the last one, I’ve got a fiddle competition with the Devil over that one).

The first, and biggest problem, is that I no longer have a routine. There was a time when I was writing every day for at least a couple of hours, but that’s no longer the case. Due to my laziness I’ve taken to writing whenever the mood strikes me, rather than making it a ritual. Well that’s not acceptable, at least not to me. Being unemployed and living with my parents should leave me with plenty of time to write, and yet I’m just not doing it. And the reason why brings me to my second problem.

I don’t have a quite place to just sit and write. Now I don’t necessarily mean I need a place to write that’s quiet, like a library. I mean peaceful quiet, where I can reach an almost zen state of utter eloquence (or at least crank out a half-decent sentence). I get on my home computer and video games, youtube, and Porn (oh so much porn) beckon me like the Sirens beckoned Odysseus. Distraction is just too readily available. My room is also unsuitable, mostly due to the fact that it has all the roominess of a prison cell. I need a place where I can get up and pace, or run around screaming wildly when my mind finally snaps under the pressure, but in my room I’m just as likely to go take a nap and not write at all.

So my new objectives in my continuing Self-Improvement Campaign are set: Find a Place to Write and Make it a Routine. Tune in next week when I’ll tell you about my continuing self-flagellation at the gym.

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