Dark clouds hung low in the sky this morning and bare trees served as haunting silhouettes as their leaves littered the roads, twirling into the air with a gust of wind, or passing car. It's a perfect broody setting for the holiday, just waiting for me to set out the Jack-O-Lanterns with lighted candles.
But this Halloween I'm scared for another reason. Halloween means only one thing to me. One terrifying, looming, fright-filled fact. It means I'm less than twenty-four hours away from starting NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month to those unfamiliar with the acronym.
Why the terror? Why the blood-curdling B-Movie Horror queen shrieks? I'm not ready. And I should be ready. But I'm not.
I should be. I've worked hard to align my NaNo stars. I have three book ideas to choose from. Two are reasonably well out-lined on paper and the third resides in my head, fully-fleshed out characters chattering away, just waiting patiently in the exit line.
I've alerted friends and family about the upcoming month of shameless neglect. They will ignore my warnings and whine, but I am prepared for that. I will bend, but I will not yield.
And I'm not in this alone. I'm taking my child with me into the tangled NaNo forest, my daughter signed up for the Young Writer's Program. We have her characters named and the plot sketched out. She's chosen a word count goal. I've even drafted my mom as her back-up typist, so that I have time for my own writing.
Instead of my usual loitering on street corners, I've been hanging about the NaNo forums, interacting with the other crazies who plan to take on the WriMo challenge in 2012. I have my dropbox account folder set-up, and a back-up memory stick to save, save, save against the dying of the machine. I even have the T-Shirt. Washed, dried, fluffed and folded.
Yep, so not ready.
You see, for me, NaNoWriMo readiness is as much a state of mind as it is a well executed pre-launch check-list. And my mind? Totally not in NaNo State of Mind this year. It's more a questioning my sanity state of mind.
Am I really doing this again? Really? Last year's 50,000 plus word disaster sits in the ether-sphere of the computer, unedited and mostly unread since 12/1/11 came around. I barely wrote at all in 2012. I've grown to enjoy a good night's sleep, which, given my day job and my unwillingness to completely throw my family to the wolves (if I decide to go with the Shifter novel), I'm not really sure how I'm going to average 1666.666 words per day. That .666 looks ominous to me.
So why did I sign up again? What was I smoking? I've never been one for this type of challenge. I don't get the whole vibe - the Mount Everest climbers, the marathon runners, the competitive eaters. I don't get the whole 'because it's there and because I can' mindset.
Except maybe I do. Lurking somewhere in the dark and deep recesses of my psyche is that slightly crazy person. Because, despite my uneasy unreadiness, I'm still going to start typing away. Tomorrow around noon, without fail, my lunch hour likely my first opportunity to start eating the word elephant named 50,000, one tap at a time. I'm as ready as I'll be at this point and not ready at all.
So I'll meet you at the NaNo site tomorrow, at a reasonable bed-time, to enter my word count for November 1st, no matter how below or above that 1666.666 mark I am. And I'll post my WC here too. Why? Because it's there. Because I can. Because I already told enough people I'm doing it for it to be too late to weasel out this year.
And if you're hiding from the big bad NaNoWriMo monster too, look out. Ready or not, here it comes!