Game day jitters

Five hours.

In five hours, both NaNoWriMo and the Maximum Geek Ultimate Writing Challenge begin. I’m going to a NaNoWriMo kickoff party tonight here in Denver, and I’ll start writing at the stroke of midnight. Better yet, since I’ll likely still be writing at 2am when the clocks fall back, I get an extra hour. Not to sleep as most people use this odd autumn bounty, but an extra hour to write.

And I’m gonna need it.

Right now, I’m writing this in my friendly neighborhood Chipotle, where I plan to do a lot of writing over the next year. It’s either a horrible or oddly auspicious night to do this, as the place is likely well above the legal occupancy limit because of their annual “dress as a burrito and get a free burrito promotion.” Nearly every one of the hundred people in here have at least some aluminum foil wrapped around something. Some, like the ones who just have a little crimped over an ear, aren’t really trying, but the cashier is being pretty generous. The point is that if I can write in this din, with the end of the line constantly bumping past my table—the only one in the place with access to an AC outlet—then I can write anywhere, anywhen.

And I’m gonna need that too.

On the surface, what I’m about to do—rather, what I’m about to start, this is a marathon, not a sprint—isn’t all that unusual as professional grade writing goes. Stephen King does two thousand words a day, every day, when in the composition phase, and there’s a lot of writers who work even faster than he does. But the difference is that I’m not taking a leave of absence to do this. I’m not getting paid to do this. I don’t even have a spouse who can support me for a year while I chase my dream.

In the next year, I’m going to transition into a new job. I’m going to file bankruptcy, something I know very little about and that scares the heck out of most people. I’m going to move out of my parents house into a place of my own. I may end up buying a new car or buying and learning how to ride a motorcycle. Despite what my friends seem to think, I’m going to maintain an active social life, though I probably won’t date more than I do now, which is to say I won’t date at all. I’m going to keep blogging and tweeting. I’m going to have a full life.

And I’m going to write somewhere between a half and three quarters of a million words of fiction.

And now, as I sit in this cacophonous Chipotle, that’s starting to sound… real. That’s starting to sound daunting. The enormity of my task looms before me and I feel small.

Tonight, I get to do that.

Because in five hours, everything changes. In five hours, I start writing. And I don’t stop until I get to the end of book seven. I don’t give up. I don’t despair. I don’t get to run to anyone to take this burden from me. This is my dream. This is why I’m here on this planet and this is what I’ve spent the last twenty years running from.

In five hours, the running stops. And the writing begins.