The antithesis of fearless

anxiety name tagToday I experienced the antithesis of fearless:  I have officially signed up for NaNoWriMo.

My sister, a fantastic editor who hates editing, will likely drop her 30 ounce Dr. Pepper and yell out, “Oh my God, what were you thinking?!!!”

And she would be correct in her assessment.  But before being entirely too blunt about the truth, she’d be sure to correct my grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Why, you might ask, would she react so violently to this news?

Number 1:  First drafts are NOT my strong point.  If, as Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is S#!t,” my S#!t is the stuff the dog ate from the cat litter, along with anything dead on the property, that spewed onto my bed as diarrhea at 2 in the morning.

Anyone who lives with a dog will understand.

Number 2:  She is painfully aware of my writing deficits, having been at the receiving end of, “Please edit my book, nag nag nag nag…..please….nag nag nag…PLEEEEEZZZZZE!!”  Just ask her about my inability to sequence, or to read editors squiggles without going blind trying to do it, or to understand how to use parenthesis…parentheses’….parenthesis’s… whatever.

So then, why would I fail to see that I’m opening my brain up for one hell of a brutal beating?

Deliberate practice.  

I stumbled on a blog site called “Writer Beware.”   Then I found a guest post by Victoria Strauss  


Here’s an excerpt:  “What makes certain people really good at what they do?” They’ve discovered that innate talent has very little, if anything, to do with expertise. Instead, they’ve learned that what creates experts is a particular approach to learning: They call it “deliberate practice.”

Yes, I’m painfully aware that quality is not the same as quantity.  Just ask my husband after I’ve spent 5 minutes trying to explain something that could’ve been summed up in 2 words.  No amount of scolding is ever going to change the way I talk.  All it’s going to do is redirect who I say more than, “yes, no, please take out the garbage” to.   

Bear in mind that people like me, the not-quite-right writers of the world, require a method that doesn’t have the words “organization,” “efficiency,” and “write down all the things you don’t do so well, or can’t do at all.”  I tried that, and there wasn’t enough room on the folded sheet of paper to list all the deficits that can’t be fixed unless I get a brain transplant.  That’s why God gave me a grammar-gifted sister to nag.

Other than the fact that I can’t NOT write, I still believe the post was well worth reading with a mechanical text reader.   If you’re mostly normal you’ll find lots of good advice packed into one post.

This warning is a public service announcement meant to save your sanity (and, possibly, mine).  If you’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, too, you might want to steer clear of any first draft that I write. 

As for my sister’s sanity, I’ve stretched it to the limit so many times that I have to say she’s the strongest person I know.

BTW: My sister reads my blog.   

Hi, sis.   Thanks for not disowning me by the time I was 12.