Starting last Saturday, as my NaNoWriMo group members were hard at work at their desks; I was hard at work on mine. They were all starting novels, with one month to finish. I was starting my desk, removing its finish.
You see, much like athletes, writers often have pregame rituals they observe. Lucky socks. Lucky pens. Brand new notebook. Sharpened No. 2 pencils.
It just so happens my ritual involves beginning a biggish project that has only some vague connection to the actual endeavor I should be starting instead.
In this instance, a desk.
For years, a folding table has served as my desk at home. As folding tables go, it's not bad, but if I get to typing faster than 85 words a minute, it starts swaying side to side. If I were writing a sea adventure, such ambiance would be awesome.
But I'm not, and it isn't.
And since I've committed to write a book in November, I figured I could either stock up on a month's worth of Dramamine, or refinish the desk. Had the weather been foul, I'd have gone the pharmaceutical route, but it was too warm and pretty to be working indoors.
Which is how, while my fellow group members were diligently accumulating their daily quota of words, I was deglossing my desk, envisioning how it would fit in my office, how solid it would feel. I understood that redoing the desk would put me a few days behind everyone else, but surely a new old desk would inspire me to produce something great.
For the past several years, I've been sporadically whapping away at two different novels in what I once considered to be the right way, but I was forever getting waylaid by structure, intimidated by characters, sidetracked by research. And most of all, interrupted by life.