This November my small writing desk was neat, awaiting the moment each evening when I would sit down to race my way to 1600 words. I even kept the espresso surface sleek and cleared during the day, on the off chance that I could grab 15 minutes to pour out the scenes threatening to crowd out shopping lists and cleaning schedules from my brain.
If you’re unfamiliar with National Novel Writing Month, it’s a whirlwind month of spewing 50,000 words onto the screen in an attempt to get a large portion of a novel completed in a 30-day sprint.
Today, papers and calendars, diapers and hand sanitizer, a makeup bag, and a buried laptop clutter the surface. When I finally sit down to write at night, I often drag my power cord to the couch, curling my legs under me to write with part of my brain occupying the sporadic conversations I have with Ryan as he works late into the night on the other side of the room.
December was to be my month of letting the novel marinate. I made notes of plot points or things I wanted to change, but for the most part I left my characters alone, closed in their file on my computer.
Developing a writing schedule for this year meant January was to be finish-the-book month, with February to begin the exhilarating and frustrating task of editing the mish-mash into a workable draft.
Yet my desk remains cluttered, along with my motivation. I sit down to write, and instead of moving the book forward I dissect and rearrange and pull apart a scene I’ve worked on once or twice or four times before. I’ve written less than 5,000 words so far this month, far behind my goals and far from where I need to be to finish this book.
Snuggled into the arm of the couch, my eyes dart to my desk, spilling over with remnants of different projects, parenting and writing colliding in a mess that makes it impossible for me to sit at my desk tonight. My novel sits open on the screen, along with Twitter, Skype, and my blog dashboard.
Clearing the surface of the desk won’t take much time. Clearing the clutter in my mind is more difficult and seems too daunting a task for 11:30 p.m. Sighing, I close my novel file, putting together a blog post instead.
For tonight, that will have to be enough.