You know that life thing I’ve talked about? Yeah, it bit me in the ass on day three this year. That’s a bit earlier than usual, but unlike previous years, I didn’t let it stop me in my tracks. I had a kid home from school sick. I had ugly life stuff to handle. I didn’t feel well. I had the first moment of “OMG, this is total shit and no one’s going to want to read it.”
These days happen. After five years of writing, I know it’s not unusual. I also know it’s potentially crippling for me. Staring down a 5100 word count goal wasn’t helping, so I decided by noon that I’d settle for any words, just to keep my streak going. Then, I upped the goal to 1667, the NaNo daily count.
One thing that helps me when this happens is short sprints. The idea of sitting down to write for a few hours freezes me up worse than the winters in Wisconsin, but I can do anything for a few minutes. So, I’ll set my timer for five minutes and just write. It doesn’t matter how many words I get at that point, it’s about getting something on the screen. Once I prove to myself that I can do that, I’ll up the timer to ten minutes and go again. Then fifteen.
Using this method, I wound up with nearly 3000 words by bedtime last night. Can’t complain about that, especially when I was ready to settle for 100 words. Weekends are always a special kind of hell, trying to write with a house full of people, but I’m going to see what I can accomplish.
As usual, the following snippet is unedited and may or may not wind up in the final story.
“I thought you said this island was uninhabited, some sort of bird sanctuary,” he responded, proving he had listened to my little speech about the importance of the island.
“It is, but that’s not a house.”
“Then what is it?” he asked. I could see lines forming at the corners of his eyes as he squinted to try and get a better view.
“It’s a mystery.” It wasn’t a lie, either. No one knew for certain how the mailbox had wound up out here, but over the decades, it’d become the whole town’s mission to protect the mailbox. When storms threatened the coast, someone would hike out and remove all but one notebook, tucking the one left behind safely inside a sealed bag. After the weather cleared, the notebooks would reappear. I was trying to convince James to speak with the university, where the unofficial archives from the mailbox were kept, to see if we could have some in the sitting area on loan, but so far, he’d refused to even entertain the idea. He claimed it would take away from the allure of the mailbox, but I was pretty sure there was another reason; a reason he wasn’t sharing. I’d never trusted James Montgomery, but I kept those thoughts to myself. There was no proof he’d done anything illegal or immoral, and a hunch was no reason to potentially disrupt a man’s life.
We walked a bit further when Dane stopped in his tracks. “Is that… a mailbox?”