Because we went out for lunch to celebrate the birthday of a colleague yesterday — and went out for lunch last week to bid farewell to a colleague moving to another city — my husband has taken to asking me what I am doing for lunch, as if on a daily basis I am having restaurant meals and fun with friends instead of my usual brown bag lunch all alone in the office kitchen. In November, my answer to his question doesn’t even include “eating in the office kitchenette,” because I know I will be dining at my desk. Not working, mind you, but writing. After all, it is NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month — and I aim to write and publish a post every day.
This morning it was freezing according to Florida standards (i.e. mid-40s with a bit of rain and a wind chill of 39 degrees), but I went on a run anyway. I had long pants and a light jacket but no gloves or hat. I was actually pleased with how good it felt to do a sustained run and might have continued, except that my ears and fingers protested, painfully throbbing. Once inside the gym, I took a few minutes to soak a formerly injured shin in the 52 degree cold pool and made conversation with the other souls who had braved the chill. I mentioned my ears and fingers, and another runner suggested some affordable gloves and hats he’d found that work well for exercise.
“But Target runs out fast,” he advised. “The first year I saw them, I didn’t think I needed them — until it got cold. Then when I returned, the store was out. Buy them while you can.”
As I drove to work early — so I could begin today’s blog upon my arrival before the day’s work began — I contemplated using my lunch time for running to the store for gloves and a hat. The weather is supposed to be a record low tonight — in the 20s, a hard freeze — and I figured everyone and his brother will be at Target buying these gloves and hats. But that would mean no time for writing a blog post today — and I had missed yesterday due to the staff lunch downtown. I had to weigh shopping vs. blogging, special hat vs. not, gloves vs. socks on my hands. The winner? Blogging and its consequences: no special hat, hands in socks instead of gloves. Priorities, priorities.
So as I blogged before work, I drank my breakfast smoothie. As I blogged during lunch (which is now), I ate a bowl of turkey and rice soup. I would slurp a spoonful and type, type, type. Then slurp another and so on. I finished dining at my desk before I finished writing at my desk, but my timer tells me I still have 14:44 left for blogging. No pressure.
The real question is: Why? People do “No Shave November” because they want to draw attention to a cause. Do I do NaBloPoMo because I want to draw attention to my blog? (OK, yes, I do.) Last year, one of my students, knowing I blogged, asked me if I were participating. He was attempting to do NaNoWriMo. Both competitions were new to me; at his suggestion, I read about the blog post writing challenge and decided to do it. (NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which occurs in November. Technically, I could do NaBloPoMo any month, but November draws the most people, some of whom do both novel writing and blog writing every day. I am not that crazy yet.) Last year, I started on November 2 and managed a post a day all the way through mid-January, when I crashed and burned. This year, because my work schedule is so intense and I have little time at home after work, I knew NaBloPoMo was simply out of the question — and yet I did it anyway.
I love to write. I like the challenge NaBloPoMo offers — making me stretch myself by writing more often, writing fewer words at times, writing about random topics, writing less than perfectly, and even failing. I love interacting with fellow bloggers, especially giving and getting feedback and encouragement. Writing posts often takes me out of my comfort zone, makes me focus on something other than food, and, actually, makes me hunger for ideas.
Although I do hunger for the occasional meal and fun with friends, I am OK giving most lunchtimes in a given month to “Dine at Desk” November.
Six hours later: Day is done. Gone the sun. Gone the dinner. Not at a desk. At home. With loved ones. No writing. All good. Tomorrow is another day.