Rather, I need goals. The past few months have been busy, but also rather aimless. Fun, but nothing that really bears reporting (aside from my trips). So, heading toward the end of fall and into winter, I have two goals. First, and most consuming, is that I’ve signed on with National Novel Writing Month. This strikes many people as odd, since I’ve never expressed any interest in being a Writer (I write competently but not creatively), much less a novelist. Indeed, I haven’t written fiction since I was in the 8th grade, and I recall that effort at a short story as desultory at best. I like (need) assignments, which has always carried me in a journalistic direction. But I figured I needed a little direction and a lot of challenge this month, so I’m going to do my best to follow NaNoWriMo’s rules and churn out 50,000 words—a pretty short novel, actually—by November 30. In addition to generating the sheer volume of words, the big hurdle for me will be to resist my compulsion to edit and trim as I go along; the project’s directive of quantity over quality runs against nearly 20 years of academic and professional training on my part. To my surprise, though, it’s going rather well so far; I’ve managed to get 3,500 words down in the past two days, and while my fingers itch to revise and refine, I actually don’t hate what I’ve written. I have a long, long way to go, but if I can focus, I think I can do it.

Goal #2 is to get back into running. After competing in three back-to-back half marathons over the summer, I simply got tired of training, and in the absence of another race goal I cut back to one or two very slow, short runs a week over the past couple of months. Now I’ve decided to enter the Hampton Beach Half, which takes its runners down New Hampshire’s wee coast in the middle of February. The hour gained over the weekend has made getting up for early morning runs much easier, and I did a pleasant (but slow; I’ve lost some stamina) four miles before work this morning. I love running in the cold and look forward to building my endurance back up.

So that’s all; a book and a race. Guitar skills could use some serious sharpening as well; can someone give me an assignment?

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