So many obsessions, so little time...

I admit it: I’ve been a slacker lately. I’ve diddled and dawdled away my writing time and not had much to show for the last month or so. I’ve read alot, and that’s good, but my writing production has been pretty tiny.

But no more. Sunday A. and I were sitting at the kitchen table with coffee when I announced that, From This Day Forth, I would write at least 1500 words a day of my novel to try to get closer to the elusive target and my goal words: The End. As I said that, the sky — which had been sunny and cloudless — suddenly turned black. We looked at each other and laughed.

Was that a sign?

Dunno. Later I was reminded that Monday was the start of NaNoEdMo, cleverly dubbed by my writing buddy Kathan as ‘the ugly stepsister of NaNoWriMo.’ And that I had, in an earlier time zone, committed to NaNoEdMo since I, silly girl, thought I’d actually have a completed novel by March 1 to edit. And then spend 2 hours a day editing it.

No matter.

I’m not a fast writer, and only on rare days of sublime inspiration am I able to crank out 1500 words in 2 hours or less. So I figured I’ll just keep with my 1500 word goal set during the mid-day darkness. And if I get my 1500 words in less than 2 hours, I’ll keep going. (Please note there is nothing, nothing, about writing quality in my current goals.) Crank it out; crank it out.

So what’s that bam bam bam’ against the side of the house? Cardinal-Norther,+male+IMG_0048b

Sunday I walked through the garage and there at the window was a male cardinal, flinging himself against the window. He’d bounce off, dazed, land on the ground, pick himself up, and hurl himself against the window again. I chased him away, figuring that the presence of a Large Person would be enough to scare him away.

But no, a minute later he was back. We read that cardinals sometimes do this during mating season when they are establishing their own territory — they see their reflection in the glass and think it’s competition. They can bang against a window until they kill themselves. I guess the term ‘birdbrain’ came about for a reason.

A got the ladder and an old flannel sheet and draped it over the window. It looked ugly, but hey — we were saving a life here. We took it down late last night because the weather report called for heavy rain today, which would knock the sheet down anyway when it got soaked.

This morning I went to get the paper and as I walked through the garage, ‘bam bam bam!’ Poor thing was back and at it. I taped sheets of newspaper against the inside of the window and that seemed to do the trick.

I came upstairs to the kitchen. ‘Bam bam bam.’ This time he was throwing himself against the window in A’s office.

I’m wondering if there’s a cautionary lesson here. I’m hoping that my own writing efforts are better directed than the poor cardinal’s. But I don’t know. And so I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I hope it’s the right thing to do.

What do you think? Can I focus more productively? If so, how? I don’t want to keep slamming into a pane of glass.

Just. Keep. Writing.

bam bam bam

16 comments to So many obsessions, so little time…

  • Oh Natasha! Not only do I love this submission, but you also brought me to tears with your analogy. I, too, feel like that poor little Cardinal. At least I did before reading Gullible’s comment this morning when all of the sudden a Flood Light of Reality kicked on and blinded me with its brilliance.

    I say we all stop trying to commit each other to our own personal goals. We are supposed to support one another, not drive each other crazy. I know I’m tired of feeling guilty because I’m not as far along, or as talented, or as organized…blah, blah, blah.

    I just finished an explanation of how I decided which novel I’ve chosen to work on. It will post tomorrow. Keep this conversation in mind when you read it. As well as a conversation we had earlier this week through email.

  • Nancy

    I love this line — We are supposed to support one another, not drive each other crazy.

    And I feel like you and the rest of our little group DO support each other, and I am SO grateful for that.

    As far as being driven crazy, I feel TOTALLY able to drive my own self crazy, all by my lonesome. I seem to have a lot of experience and practice at that. 🙂

    I love the flood light of reality, btw.

  • You and DS totally encouraged me with your posts today! Great analogy (which made me really sad for Mr. Cardinal, I love those birds).

    And I agree completely with DS…the fact that we all did NaNoWriMo together is so great, but the end of our novel drafts all came out differently. Some of us (like me) may need to pretty much scrap the entire thing and redo it completely. Others of us are ready for critique… I love that we can support one another in all our personal writing goals. No guilt.

    You guys rock! 😀

    • Nancy

      Hey!! Birdbrains!! Y’all rock!

      The cardinal is STILL knocking himself silly against the windows. At least it’s pouring out now so this has slowed him down a bit.

  • If your gut feeling is that you should write 1500 words per day, then I’m 100% behind you. You have to listen to yourself first. If you’re getting no inner signals, then it’s good to ask others for advice.

    I feel so bad about the cardinal. Thank God none of us has resorted to his behavior; I’m almost there but so far I’m just leaning my head against the wall!

  • Funny, funny, funny. I feel sorry for the little guy but also relieved it’s not one of us. Great post! I think you should do what feels right to you. You can write fifteen hundred in a day if you set your mind to it, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit that target.

  • Nancy

    Well, so far today I have written one sentence, or 11 words of my novel. Only 1,489 to go! And it’s only 9 PM….

    But at least I got this blog post out, wrote some emails, had a great acupuncture session, rejected the notion of writing a ‘mission statement’ for something, managed to get the dog to the park for the 15 minutes it didn’t rain today, called Senator Hagan’s office AGAIN, made it to Flaming Amy’s for a veggie Nacho Daddy platter for dinner, and here I am at my desk now with 1,489 words to go.

    What do you think the chances of that happening are?

    We’re hoping the cardinal is tiring out, poor thing. It’s still been blasting against the garage window, even though we’ve completely covered it from the inside.

  • Ok, I have some GOOD NEWS – I submitted my story Robin’s Journey to the Oregon Kidney Foundation. Yesterday I got an email from the Transplant Service Director in New York. She was touched by my story and asked me to condense it to 800 words. She wanted to send it to the editor of the National Transplant Chronicles for publication. I quickly rewrote it to 800 words and sent it in. They replied that they wanted a title and my bio in 2-3 sentences. I’m not positive, but it is likely that it will be my FIRST PUBLICATION! WaHoo!

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