There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.
-- William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Three reasons why I considered throwing in the towel on NaNoWriMo this week:
Losing my cat. My head knows Jak is at peace, which he absolutely deserved; my heart thinks my head is a stupid cold bitch who should shut the hell up. Neither one can sleep.
Accepting the latest bounce. A snotty no-thanks came in on a referral pitch (when one editor sends you to another.) I knew going in it would probably result in some sort of slapdown, so my bad. It's so beautifully snide, though, that I might have to frame it for posterity.
Plowing through my latest read. I made the mistake of picking up a critically-acclaimed novel from the remainder bin and thinking, Oh, why not? (Can you hear Jesus weeping? I didn't.)
These and other challenges have made like leeches on my creative energy, and naturally the writing has suffered. I know I'm cranky -- I had to edit this post five times before it stopped singeing off my eyelashes -- and every morning I start off in combat meditation mode: I will find my center and embrace my grief and not utter a single whisper about how much this towering heap of unadulterated critically-acclaimed crap I'm reading stinks. Most days I still want to kick an inanimate object, so the easiest thing would be to quit now before I explode. Before I break a toe or dent the dryer. Before I fail.
I'm sure many of you are dealing with issues that make mine look like a stroll through the park on a fine day; maybe some of you are thinking the same thing. So we can all go lock ourselves in a dark room and stay there watching soap operas and game shows and wondering if we should invest in Mister Steamy, The Wonder File, or that bracelet that is supposed to give you energy (preferably in the next ten minutes, so we can get an extra one for free if we just pay shipping & handling.) We could stay there until December 1st, when the chubby lady breaks into song. So much easier.
Only if we do that -- if we bail on NaNoWriMo -- we'll miss a rare opportunity. Times like these are when we're allowed to spit in the eye of the universe. When we reach this point, we're permitted to flip off fate, and tell bad luck to take a hike. This is when we can look at the yawning abyss avidly eyeing us, and say: No. You're not taking a bite out of me, or sucking me in, or swallowing me. I say when I'm finished, not you.
The abyss never knows how to respond to this because the abyss has never had to work for it.
I don't know if I'll make 50K words by December 1st, and frankly? I don't care. When I finish editing this post (for the sixth time), I'm going back into that room, and open my NaNo file, and write my story. And I'm going to keep writing my story, whenever I can, however I can, right up until midnight on November 30th.
The damn towel stays where it is.
Image credit © Ilya Genkin | Dreamstime.com