Between organizing a local event, being sidetracked for a day or two by writing here, and then going up north to visit my parents, I have indeed been completely sidetracked from my NaNoWriMo project. In a way, worrying about writing anything here – especially given I’ve only written a post and two daft scraps of song lyrics – was a proxy for worrying about the effect of my trip up north.
My parents don’t really understand the notion of doing something creative – especially hard-work creative – in one’s spare time. Spare time is what you earn when you work, a by-product of wages, and not to be wasted on doing yet more work (unless it brings in yet more wages.) Your spare time should then be spent watching the X Factor (while, in my father’s case, pretending not to), drinking Sauv Blanc or Montepulciano, and arguing gently about whose turn it is to be able to make dinner for the other. Now that my parents’ time consists entirely of spare time, then their mild disdain feels in turn entire.
Understandably, they would never understand me spending so much time on my computer every day as a NaNoWriMo might require. And as this trip is about them, and about having an early family Christmas with them, then I have to be quite strict with myself. Not strict in order to write, but strict in order to not write: to sit and talk about family members and their illnesses; to go out to Preston Docks or Barton Grange nurseries; to hear about how some market used to be called the Flag Market, but it was nothing to do with flags; and to spend time watching the slightly aptly named gameshow Pointless. Also, what spare time I do have, I spend almost entirely with K. in a shared hotel room. There is little or no time to write.
The big problem is that, unlike most people’s NaNoWriMos – which must needs be hard work, yet at the end of November can be safely shelved – mine was intended to be working towards a fairly tight, tidy project, to be printed before the end of 2011. That was only ever going to be samizdat printing on a very small scale, but printing was nonetheless the plan. Still, there’s always the usual mad rush in December. What would Christmas be like without traditions?