Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Excusinator

Something is gnawing at me. It's November. The month of NaNoWriMo, and like last year, I'm not participating.

As a writer, it seems I have a history of holdups. I remember well at a very young age handwriting the start of stories in notebooks. I still have many of those story beginnings. And all the while I would think, if only I had a typewriter, then I could really write.

Then my parents gave me an old manual typewriter, one that actually used to belong to my grandparents. Man, that thing was old. Clack, clack, clack. I can still hear the keys as I typed away more unfinished new stories thinking, now if I just had an electric typewriter, one with a correction key, then I would have everything I needed to be a writer.

What do you suppose happened? You've probably guessed...I received an electric typewriter as a gift. Beautiful thing it was, it had a semi-word processor built in and you could type a limited amount of text into it, modify or correct the text, then push a button for it to type. And type it did. That machine was fast as the blazes, and yes, it had a correction key. I marveled at the invention as I wrote more stories, albeit unfinished, and thought, wouldn't it be great to have a word processor, one that will store my stories so that I don't have to re-type them with every change?

My first one was a DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) model, and I bought it from the company I worked for. Now everything was in place for me to become a writer. The stories grew longer, even journal entries became word processed, and I was happy. Until I got to thinking how nice it would be to have the ability to do research, look up words, and other activities on a home computer, better known as a PC. Yes,
I thought, if I had a PC, then I would be all set to write magnificent stories, even novels.

I've lost count of how many PC's I've owned. I currently have two in my home, neither is more than 4 years old. Both have Word from Microsoft Office, both share a high-speed connection to the internet, both have plenty of memory and hard disk space. They are both technologically in the now, certainly sufficient for any writing career or hobby.

So what's the holdup now you must be thinking? What's left to need in order to write as I've so desired what feels like all my life? Well, this one's a hard one and unfortunately can't be bought at a store. It's time. I'm thinking, time is what I need most now.

I realize at this point, I'm not just a procrastinator…I'm also an excusinator! Every time I turn around I have an excuse why I'm not able to succeed at writing and finishing all the wonderful stories that pop into my mind. While each one of these stumbling blocks has been real, they have also not been something that should delay my writing. In fact, many a great novel was written before the advent of computers, even before typewriters.

So what does all this mean? Other than I do wish great success for my colleagues participating in NaNoWriMo, I also know it's time for me to quit waiting for everything to be perfect. I'm going to start that novel (again), but better yet, I'm going to finish it. Does this mean I'm jumping in to NaNoWriMo mid-month? No. If I thought I hadn't the time to finish a novel in the whole month, how crazy would I be to think I could write it in a partial month? I'll start with baby steps, setting some realistic and attainable goals, and write one chapter at a time.

Now to end on a very positive note, always before when I've created these obstacles in my mind, a solution has always presented itself. I can't wait to see how I can find more time in my days to spend working on my writing.