An Explanation

I think I owe you folks an explanation.

Every year since 2003, I’ve participated in an event called NaNoWriMo.  Now, truthfully, if you’re reading this, you probably already know what that is, since chances are pretty spectacularly damn high that’s where we met, but humor me.  For the lone reader who stumbled in here because of what was likely a hastily mistyped URL, NaNoWriMo is an annual event where a bunch of writers decide that they are going to try to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I love NaNoWriMo.  I love it because I love the act of writing – the clever turns of phrase, the plot developments that take you by surprise, the burgeoning character development – and because I am spectacularly bad at committing to it.  

I was a decent writer when I was in school – I mean, I still procrastinated like it was my damn job and usually left things until the last minute, when I would inevitably hem and haw and hyperventilate (usually while ugly crying), but I would get it written, and what a hell of thrill ride that night of writing would be.  More often than not it would be something that turned out remarkably well, and something that I would be proud of – I still have a number of my stories and essays from college, and while I can now more clearly see the rough edges, they still remain pieces I am actively proud of.  

While time management was never my strong suit, having a concrete deadline did ensure that I would at least get the piece done, even if it was an eleventh hour mad dash to the finish line.  But that was thirteen years ago.  Fast forward a decade plus, and I’m no longer a college student with a deadline to meet – I’m a working parent who answers to nobody if she doesn’t commit a single word to the page.  No one cares if I’m writing, no one is waiting on my writing, and without the outside impetus, I can conjure up a thousand and one reasons why I don’t need to be writing right now.  

In short, the body is weak, and the will is… weaker still.  I’m not proud of this fact, but it is fact: I need an imposed structure to get things done.  Yes, even menial things.  Yes, even things I want to do.  My attention span is shot and my executive functioning skills are in the toilet, but I’ve always managed to pull it together in fits and spurts if I felt like I had to, if I felt like someone was watching.  Given an rigidly imposed structure, I perform surprisingly well.

…Don’t get nervous.  Like, I don’t expect you to be collectively breathing down my back, or incessantly checking up on me, I just… I just need to know that someone is watching.  I need to feel like I have an actual, concrete obligation to sit down and produce.

I can’t promise that it’ll come easily, or quickly.  I’m going to do my best to keep on top of things, but even my best is tempered by time, lack of practice, and lapsed habits.  But I want to try.  I’m hoping you’ll be audience to my awkward attempts.

My goals for this blog?  Writing in it.  Writing in it with anything approaching any sort of regularity, writing in it with personal thoughts, with meta-writing, with opinions and prompts and poetry and short fiction.  My goal for this blog is to put down one word and another and another and another, and maybe say something that makes someone laugh or think or say, “hey, me too.”

My goal is to churn out enough words that the laws of probability guarantee at least one of those things occurs, at least once.

I’m here to write.  I’d love if you’d stick around to read.


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Jessica Cross

Writer, maker, geek, feminist, mom. Not necessarily in that order.

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