Thursday, October 28, 2010


This is Hatshepsut peeking out from behind the blue blanket. It was vet day for her and for Cuillean. Time for that once yearly event wherein I insist they allow a stranger to look at them, listen to their lungs and hearts, and maybe even draw a bit of blood. Big Drama, and, listening to their howls of protest, Big Trauma. When it was all over, though, not much had happened to either girl. I know there's no reason to fear a stethoscope - but try telling that to a feline yanked from her territory and transported to a strange location where some guy she doesn't know is pressing a cold bit of metal and plastic to her ribs. We'd stepped firmly outside the feline comfort zone. The worst part all morning was that the vet suggested both girls could use a diet.
Sigh. Couldn't we all?

It occurred to me as I chuckled at my girls' histronics that maybe I shouldn't's fast coming up on NaNoWriMo - National November Write a Book in a Month kickoff. A number of my fellow writers are girding their pens and computers to take part this year. I did NaNoWriMo once. It scared me silly. See? Now you're laughing at me. What was so inherently frightening about writing 2k words a day? I'd never done it. It was outside my comfort zone and I seem to recall indulging in a fit of Big Drama of my own. Fast forward two years to being on deadline – something else I’d never done – ask my beloved husband about my sang-froid. I was calm, composed…you aren’t buying this are you? Okay. I was a total, psychotic nutcase. My family took to speaking slowly, in low, soothing tones whenever I looked up from the keyboard. Sort of like the tone of voice I’d used in the car to quiet wailing felines.

And yet, after a few years of acting school, and lots of years of writing stories, I’ve discovered that I feel most alive when I’m outside my comfort zone. I might be quaking in my tennis shoes. I may have adrenaline burning a hole in my chest from the inside out, but I’m awake and alive. I don’t advocate leaping out of your comfort zone and straight into danger. I don’t recommend becoming an adrenaline junkie. But inching your toe out of your safety zone once in a blue moon clears out the cobwebs. Try writing something that scares you (for me it was a torture scene). You don’t have to share it with anyone, but see if, once you’ve done it and the relief eases, whether you don’t feel just a little bit exhilarated.

The cats? They were exhilarated to be home and let out of their carriers so they could run off and commence snubbing me for betraying their trust.


  1. And sneak food, undoubtedly. Also a time-honored method for easing the panicked writer through just a few more words...

  2. Which is why was could *all* use a diet in this household.

  3. Hey I know how you feel. I usually sign up for nanowrimo then I get to scared to actually post what I wrote. Which is usually no where near 50,000 words. But this year I soothed myself by telling myself that I just have to write. (still Quaking in my boots)BTW spent part of the afternoon fishing a nasty bug out of the neighbor pool because it dared to attack her cat Buddha and she wanted to take it with her to the vet.

  4. Oo. Good luck, Chudney! I didn't 'win' either. Got 25k words for the month and that was it. But I kept going and that Nano manuscript is Enemy ultimately, I think you're right. Get in there. Do your darnedest to just write. Who cares whether you make 50k words? Once November is over, keep going. You never know where that might take you.