Friday, November 9, 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day 9: Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Life is funny sometimes. A couple days ago, I was going full steam ahead, already playing out what my next NaNoWriMo post was going to be about (as you can see from my calendar, I was going to talk about rewarding yourself with stars).

And then my computer crashed.

My computer had been acting up, so I did the logical thing of restarting my computer. Much to my dismay, instead of seeing my beautiful desktop, with all its files and folders, I got only the grey load-up screen of death.

I was petrified, because while I had back-ups of mostly everything on my laptop, I had zero back-up of my second novel, pre-NaNoWriMo. This meant that, potentially, all my hard work, all the sacrifices I had been making to write 1000 words a day, was gone. And, since I'm the queen of timing, I found out this tidbit of information right as I was going to work.

I tried my best to go about my day, all the while silently freaking out about my novel. I raced home on my break, tried everything the internet told me to try, and had absolutely, positively, no luck. Nothing but the Apple logo and a grey screen.

And like the rational, reasonable person I am, I responded with a full-out panic attack. The second panic attack I've ever had in my entire life, the first happening when I was 18.

I'm not proud to admit that I had a panic attack over this. Granted, the panic attack came more as a combination of the stress of everything else happening in my life, a really bad day at work (students can just tell when you really don't have it in you to give it your all, huh), and a certain and stark uncertainty. And I know that when bloggers usually "admit" things on their blogs, it's usually things like, "I have SUCH a shoe obsession!" or "Pinterest is my main source of inspiration!" But, oh well -- sometimes you just gotta be honest, brutally honest.

Thankfully I am blessed with a caring, empathetic husband, who works just as close to our apartment as I do, who was willing to come straight home after I sent him a frantic text message, calm me down, and work his magic on my computer. He ran Ubuntu on my computer, saved all my files, picked out my second novel, emailed it to me, and continued diagnosing my decrepit machine.

But, I am getting a little ahead of myself. My husband wasn't able to successfully get my files from my computer until the next day (when I say he worked his magic, I mean magic. I don't know how he did it, but he did). Faced with not knowing if I even had a novel to return to, I went to my notebook and began writing from where I left off.

There is absolutely, positively nothing harder than continuing on when you don't know if you even have anything left to return to. But I kept going. The first day, I wrote maybe 200 or so words. Nothing compared to my goal, but, as my husband wrote on my calendar, I had a good reason.

Something happened once I knew my novel was safe and sound. I was still without a computer (it could run on Linux, but that was about it), but I had my notebook by my side. And I wrote. I wrote with such a fury that I actually lost track of time and barely made it back to work in time. I was engrossed with my pen-to-paper writing. No word counts to check in on, no abilities to scroll back and suddenly change my mind on a sentence. Just, writing. I wrote easily 1500 words during that sitting -- although I won't be able to check until I can type it all out. And nothing gave me more satisfaction than awarding myself a "star" on my calendar for the day after my panic attack.

So my message for this NaNoWriMo post is this: life throws you curveballs. Life throws you curveballs of all shapes and sizes. There will always be a reason to give up or turn back. But if you want something -- really want something -- you just have to keep fighting for it. JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter books on scrap paper and napkins while on break as a waitress. Steven King had an old school typewriter brought to him at the hospital after he was ran over in 2000 (long before the advent of the laptop). If there is one thing the "real world" has taught me, it's that there will always be an excuse for something not to happen. Anything is possible if you have the drive, the passion, the wit, and the support system necessary to achieve it.

And maybe -- just maybe -- next time I post, I can talk about something a little more superficial, like the benefits of sitting at a desk or a table when writing.

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