I’ve been learning lately about the need to take things one at a time, regardless of the stress that comes with completing each item by a set date and despite everything seeming to pile up.
I started off this month by taking on a challenge known as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. The challenge was to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days with a marker of 1,667 words per day.
As of my writing this, I’m a little over the two-day writing hurdle. And this means that I’m somewhere around 16,666 words behind. But I’m not pressuring myself. I’m not forcing myself to write the 1,667 words each day. I’ll write when I write. If I don’t complete it by the end of the month, so be it. I put in the effort and that’s still good for me.
I spent a good portion of my weeknights for roughly the last month and a half as an assistant directing the Hinman Production Company’s straight play ‘Harvey’ about a middle-aged man named Elwood P. Dowd whose best friend is a 6-foot-1.5-inch rabbit named Harvey.
And I’ve got to say that it was fun. Yes, I wasn’t doing as much as the co-directors were, but I knew most of the cast and people involved already, so I was surrounded by good people. Yes, I spent a fair amount of time sitting on my rump and taking notes, but I was enjoying what I was viewing. And yes, it ate up a good portion of my weeknights, but I still had a good time and managed to fit in homework before and after rehearsals.
Sure, the late nights when I was running to catch one of the runs of the campus shuttle weren’t the best, but it’s about the overall experience and the payoff in the end.
By now, you’re probably wondering how I manage to fit in readings for classes and the occasional essay. It’s called finding time. I read before class in the mornings. I read on my lunch breaks. I read in between classes. I read in the evenings, staying up late in some cases to finish or make progress. As for the essays, they’ve been delegated to the weekends and in some cases, a few finishing touches have been added the day of.
To me, it’s like politics: It’s all about the results. So what if I try to write a 50,000-word novel in a month on top of extracurricular activities and class work? I’m trying something I normally don’t.
So what if I spend a fair portion of my weeknights for a month and a half playing rhythm games and watching the same five scenes played out over and over until the lines and blocking has been nailed down? It’s a fun experience. So what if I’ve squeezed reading and writing assignments into my breaks during the day, as well as staying up late to get stuff done? Hey, at least I’m still doing my work.
Or maybe writing this column out is just my way of dealing with the stresses of early November.