In recent years, November’s arrival has caught me blissfully unaware, and 2013 was no different.

I always have plenty of time to sow my wild summer oats and prepare my mind and body for the hibernation and plumping that comes with colder weather, but with the shortening of days and falling of leaves, I still feel surprised and perplexed by the transition.

autumn leaf

The autumn season came in a fury starting in 2009. This was the year I added my name to the roster of loony writers all over the world who would be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I’m pretty sure I began my feverish quest for 50,000 words at an ambitious 12:00 a.m. on November first of that year.

My, my, how things have changed.

What was once an idealistic desire to pen the next great American novel has evolved into a palpable drudgery that approaches around October 1st and culminates at midnight November 1st. In fact, I didn’t participate in the event last year or the year before. Truth be told, I was unprepared and overwhelmed. And, come November sixth (both years), I hadn’t written a word, nor did I even have so much as a plot to work with.

Again, this year: no different.

Well, I have a plot. And about one written paragraph. So there’s that. But if I need 50,000 words by midnight, December first, I’m about 10,000 words behind schedule. Lovely.

“So why are you doing it?” a friend asked me this evening. I don’t remember how I replied, but only that I bumbled a lame response. Honestly, I don’t really know why I’m participating. But maybe the real reasons go something like this:

Because why not?

Because I’ve read my share of life-changing books, so maybe it’s time for me to write one of my own.

Because I don’t have nearly enough to do already. (Kidding.)

Because if I am successful, I will have, not one, not two, but three half-completed novels to work with in the months ahead.

Because even if I can only extract 50 words that hold promise from 50,000, it will have been worth it.

Whatever my ridiculous reasons for participating in such a lofty challenge, I’m doing it. Because, well, why not?

Even if I have an insane amount of catching up to do.

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