As I write this, I’m on a sit down exercise bike at my local rec centre. I’m making a prose gym selfie! But I’m not just here to make a humblebrag. Since my son was born, and I got my new job I’ve found that the key to reaching all of your goals in life is routine and discipline. Yeah, I know it’s a cliché, but the even bigger cliché is to believe in dreaming big, visualizing your goals, and all sorts of other magical thinking. The day to day drudge of writing, practising, or failing your way to success just doesn’t make for good storytelling or filmmaking. At least, those aren’t the scenes that people remember. You remember the awards ceremonies and the adulation. You remember the medal scene from the end of Star Wars a new hope. The smoking corpses of uncle Owen and aunt Beru, not so much. Oh well. It keeps you in an exclusive club when you do actually tick that item off your bucket list.
But where was I? Oh yes. In recent months I’ve been able to fit in gym time, anime time, time with my son, time for reading, time for friends and time for extracurricular programming, but now that just leaves me to find time for writing, which I haven’t been able to focus on. I’m not even quite sure that my wordpress install is working properly. The last entry was when I presented my son’s video training montage, and that was months ago.
Even so, I put this on my profile: writer, coder, and new dad. Pretty soon I’ll have to drop the “new” of my dad title, so the other two have to step up. Nanowrimo is coming up, and every year I’ve managed to find an excuse to stay on the sidelines, even when I was trying to do 750 words a day for a year on 750words.com.
This next November, I’m going to do it. I’m going to submit my writing to NanoWrimo. I don’t think I’ll actually make it to the 50,000 words I need to qualify, but if I rearrange a few things, I can make something happen. I can give up my daily anime for a month and turn my gym time into writing time. My coding time has been time boxed to 1 hour on Thursdays for the ruby brigade and and 2–4 hours on the weekend. If I give up trying to code on all other weeknights and focus on getting ready for the next day, I can show up to work early for some uninterrupted typing time.
It’s easy for me to sound chirpy about this right now. I’ve got at least three family birthdays this month, including mine and my son’s, a late family thanksgiving to contend with, and I will need to cover for my wife when report cards roll around. Yet here I am making another honey do list for my future self to carry out. And as I learned when I became a dad, future James is a chump that can’t be trusted. Still, if I lay things out in plain, easy to follow instructions, Future James is capable of a great many things.