Procrastinate much? I do, and I don’t. In my quest to put off whatever it is I am supposed to be completing at any given moment, I will finishing several other tasks or chores. This means shit. gets. done. Not always the right shit, in the right order, and not always perfectly, but somehow, one procrastinated task after another, my life goals progress.
Except my writing.
Except my “It’s-Taking-For-Fucking-Ever” book-in-progress. Word of advice: It is very difficult to write a memoir in conjunction with living your actual life. Arrests, lawsuits, rallies, protests, elections, and whatnot else, tend to get in the way.
It’s like being your very own reality TV star while also producing, directing, and shooting the show, which sometimes, in your life, is The Shit Show. So you are living your life, but also, you know, having to record what’s happening as it is happening. That’s… hard. Basically, it is the closest I’ve gotten to legit (mental) time travel, so you will excuse me if my book is, let’s say, taking a tad–by which I mean a decade–too long to write.
To drive this point home, the (fantasy) actress who is supposed to play me in the (fantasy) Oscar-winning movie version of my (fantasy) bestselling memoir is now too old to play my younger self, which, when you calculate this out in Hollywood years expressed as Common Core Math where Actress X = 47 but looks 37 because of the infused blood of lithe 18 year olds plus Vitamin E & K divided by Botox, you still get: Finish your fucking book!
So this year, I am committing to NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, kicking off on November 1st. You are supposed to commit to cranking out at least 15,000 words, but I am shooting for 30,000 at a rate of 1,000 words a day, because I am nothing if not a very accomplished over/underachiever with a sadomasochistic streak. And don’t forget: I am also a Master Procrastinator, so this should get goal/soul-crushingly interesting fast!
I’m super-pumped for several reasons:
- It’s been 11 years since I received my Masters in Creative Writing from City College of New York. While I was completing my degree, Professor Mirsky always said: “Writing is the unraveling of the riddle.” I didn’t understand what he meant at the time, but now, since I have finally cracked the key to my own riddle, I do, and now I am ready to write the living BeJebus out of this book. (Unlike certain writers who unravel the riddle on the manuscript page, I needed to unravel it in my journals and mind first, because in my writing process, I needed to know where I am going before I can go there. Now I do.)
- I have wanted to do NaNoWriMo for all 11 of those years, but have never been in any sort of life position to make it happen. I knew I would blow it, and I didn’t want to set myself up for that kind of failure. But, in the ensuing years, I have learned a lot about failure, and setting and meeting goals, I have learned to prioritize myself in my life–if YOU don’t do it for yourself, trust me, NO ONE WILL–and I know I can nail this because I am, er, telling you I will.
- I am willing to be selfish to make this happen. If this sounds a little cray-cray, work with me. I am a natural people pleaser, and tend not to put myself or my goals first. I am also a bit batty, obsessive, and weird, and actually have a phobia about going off the “deep end” as an artist (dirty dishes, wrecked relationships, overflowing ashtrays–and I don’t even smoke anymore!), and so I hold back. No more. November is my month to yell at the world: Sorry, Sammy, I will not be doing X, Y, or Z because I am WRITE. (Say it like, “I am Groot!”)
This will be my mantra for November: I am right to write, and everything will be alright. Keep your fingers crossed for me because I will be needing mine to type. One word at a frigging time! One thousand words a day. One manuscript finished by Christmas. One book published in 2020. See? Easy-peasy, pudding and pie!