“Please don’t run out, please don’t run out,” I prayed silently as my old Plymouth Neon sputtered down the dark road.
I was on my way to pick up Dan from work at Blockbuster (yeah, this is back when he was my boyfriend. Holy crap–we’ve been married 15 years now!) I’d seen a movie with my girlfriends and unexpectedly had to take someone home. As usual, I was running on empty. Even though money was tight on waitressing tips from Perkins, it wasn’t that I didn’t have cash. I simply never left myself enough time to stop for gas while rushing around town. And I’d gotten cocky. I’d seen the needle just past empty and made it enough times not to be.
But not on this night. I pulled into the church parking lot off the side of the road, cursing my lack of faith. And because this was before the age of cellulars, I ran to the nearest gas station . . . about two miles away. The nice man inside let me use the phone to call Blockbuster, but it was past midnight on Friday. They’d already locked up, not answering any more calls, and Dan stood in the parking lot waiting for me, assuring his coworkers I’d arrive any minute now as they left one by one.
Old habits die hard. I sometimes do the same thing with my writing. In November, I participated in NaNo for the first time ever.
And boy, did I start out running at top speed, barely slowing down enough to say more than a few words to my family. I’d get up late each morning, exhausted from my 2a.m. sprint from the night before, rush headlong into the day teaching middle school, write all evening, and repeat the cycle . . . for ten days. Yeah, ten. Perhaps you recall this Twitter update from me:
Jamie M Ayres
@jamiemayres 10 Nov
Haven’t done a
#NaNoWriMo update in a while b/c I’ve been, ya know, writing, hahaha! Up to 27,960 words total. How’s everyone else doing?!
Yeah, you read that right. 27, 960 words in just 10 days? You were all thinking I was some rock star, thinking, “She’s got this, right?”
Want to know my final word count for the month?
I left no time for other things, putting myself at risk of running on empty again, being stranded in the dark, far away from my husband.
So, what’s the answer? National Novel Writing Month isn’t for me. I need balance. And in the end, even though I didn’t finish the race before they took the clock down, I still count myself a winner. I still have 30,000+ words I wouldn’t have had before. That’s 30,968 words to the last novel in my trilogy, 18 Thoughts. And with 18 Truths being released next month, I’m confident I won’t have to wait a freakin’ year in-between book releases next time. Go me!
I’d love to know your thoughts! What do you do to keep your tanks full? Are you running on empty? Is it time for a fill-up? The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is the perfect pit stop!