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NaNoWriMo Did Not Go

On October 26, 2011 I set my intentions, goals, and sights high. I threw my hat over the fence, embraced ‘Crazy Donloree‘ and decided to plunge head first into NaNoWriMo.

Possibly an odd strain of the Ebola virus?

It might as well have been for how epic it was. The goal seemed simple, write thirty essays that are 5 to 6 pages in length each day of November and wah-lah, draft one of your book is complete.

I came up with topics, created a framework, started writing, and then proceeded to hate every, single, solitary moment of it.

I loathed it.

You know that furrowed, squinty, ‘I think I am going to die‘ look you have when a migraine puts you out and you’re on day three of the pain?

I was making this look every single day.

This is NOT a good look.

Writing is who I am and how I was made to filter the world. Metaphor, hyperbole, characterization, and adjectives are some of my best friends, so it seemed like a no brainer. I wrote, journaled, and blogged during the month of November, but NaNoWriMo was not touched; not even with a ten foot pole.

One day I will write a book and share my story, but it cannot be rushed or slapped together in a month. I want to inspire, take people where they are afraid to take themselves, and show them what is possible. My heart’s desire is to bridge the chasm of the impossible for people; such a bridge cannot be drafted in a mere 30 days.

The goal was draft one of a book, but what I accomplished was learning how to be me, even when it seemed not like me at all.

Have you ever set a goal only to find out that you don’t WANT to accomplish it?


When I decided to compete, it went something like this:

Crazy Donloree I love lifting weights! I love being spontaneous! I want to take over the world. I am gonna compete in a bodybuilding competition. YEEESSSSSS!!! Woot! Watch out world, here comes the woman named Donloree!!
Sensible Donloree*AHEM* Pardon me? How exactly is this going to happen? You don’t know the first thing about bodybuilding! What are all the possible outcomes? What does this cost? How can a chubster like us do such a thing? This cannot be done.
Crazy Donloree– Oh whatever. Tons of people do it. How hard can it be? Lift heavy things, eat a bunch of chicken and rice, and wear a cute bikini. Seriously, it seems to be a three step process.
Sensible Donloree – Three step process, eh? Huh! Seems WAY more complex than that. Who is going to train you? What does dieting look like? How do you pick a show? When are you going to find time to train with your crazy job? If it was so easy, don’t you think more people would do it?
Crazy Donloree – Most people are just boring, that’s all. I am not boring! I am different! I am Donloreeeeee!
Sensible Donloree – Fine. Whatever. But don’t come running to me when your muffin top wants to go on stage too.
Crazy Donloree – DEAL! I will be muffin top free. Oh man, I am so excited! I am a bodybuilder!

Off I went with abandon.

Moment of pure honesty. The three step process turned out to be a 3 bazillion step process, nonetheless, I loved every single step.

I have learned that ‘just doing it‘ is my best method of completion. Had I sat down and made a list of how to’s, how not to’s, coaches to research, diet plans, what to purchase, and then drafted a critical path to completion I would have just used up a lot of ink and paper and never stepped on stage.

Instead, I started a blog.

Truly, competing was something that I had wanted to do for YEARS, but I kept avoiding. Finally, I threw open the door of possibility and took the plunge into the inky darkness.

Do it afraid.

I am officially scared out of my mind again. I signed up for NaNoWriMo and am employing the ‘Three Step Process‘ once again, but this time to write a book.

The month of November is the official National Novel Writing Month and I am flinging open the door of possibility and starting on page one of ‘Woman Cannot Live on Chicken Alone‘ at 4:45 am on November 1, 2011.

The rules are pretty simple.

  1. Write 50,000 words of original content from November 1 to  November 30
  2. Pick any genre
  3. Don’t stroke out

Three easy things!

If I can lift heavy things, eat loads of chicken and rice, and wear a cute bikini, I can and will do this.

The first time I stepped on a stage was just that; the first time. Draft one, if you will.

For the month of November I am going to worry about 3 things and draft one of my book will result. Thirty essays in thirty day is my strategy, there is no way this can fail, or so says Crazy Donloree.

On December 1 I can worry about the other 2.999748377 bazillion things in my ‘Three Step Process‘.

The only hiccup is the ‘original content‘ part. I can’t take old blog posts and repurpose them…so I’m looking for 30 essay topics!

What do you want to know? 

Reversing the BHAG

I suffer from extreme BHAGitis.

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals have infected my life.

If you are anything like me you have them oozing out of your pores too.

I picture BHAGs to look something like this if you could see them. Big, hairy, lumbering, and a tad unwieldy.

It could be worse.

Sometimes the BHAG gets the best of you and it becomes unattainable no matter how hard you work; at least that has been my experience more times than I would like to admit. Anyone remember the NaNoWriMo adventure of November that I got an EPIC FAIL on?

Oftentimes when my husband and I drive somewhere new he makes a valid suggestion that I scoff at.

DL – Oh man this is going to be fun. Woot! A new restaurant to eat at with fabulous friends that has Donloree friendly foods. I found the menu online and have something super tasty picked out. Let’s roll!

Hubs – Looking forward to it. So do you know where we are going?

DL – Uh…yeah…? The new restaurant?!

Hubs – Well of course, but do you know where it is and how to get there? Should we put it into Google Maps on your phone?

DL – Google Maps, Google Schmaps! I have the address, we don’t need anything else.  Let’s go already. We are going to be late with all this talking about going and not going. Its just across the river somewhere by the University. Seriously! I’m getting hangry!

Hubs – (after driving past the same corner 4 times and hearing me exclaim ‘it is supposed to be right HERE’ 4 times) So…how about the Google Maps…?

DL – FINE. Whatever. The stupid map is going to tell us to go to same the place because the address hasn’t moved from this corner unless we have entered a strange space and time continuum that shifted the world around when we crossed the river.

Hubs – How is the map coming?

DL – (in a very small voice) Uh…apparently I wrote the address down wrong. We are supposed to be on the northeast end of the city. SORRY! I love you.

That darn ‘you are here’ flashing blue dot can be freakishly annoying sometimes. Some days it should just audibly say, ‘Hey idiot, you’re going the WRONG way.” somehow it would be more tolerable than the unhurried, ambient blinking.

‘Tis the season for goals and resolutions.

Instead of finding yourself where you don’t want to be with only a blue light pointing out your failure, reverse engineer your BHAG.

Step 1 – What do you want?

Write down everything about your big, hairy, audacious goal.

  • What does arriving look like?
  • How will you know you are on the right path?
  • What will you get?
  • What will you have to give up?
  • Who will journey with you?

Step 2 – What resources do you need to accomplish the BHAG?

One of my BHAGs is to write a book. I am on page 1 right now and finishing is writing ‘the end‘ on page 314. Writing 314 pages takes a lot of time and discipline. One month is not enough time to write my 314 page book even if I didn’t sleep, chained myself to my computer, and was hooked up to an IV of espresso.

  • How much time is required?
  • What training or expertise do you need?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • What do you need to overcome?
  • What are you missing?
  • What do you already have?

Step 3 – Chart your course.

Map it out. Be realistic in how long it will take, don’t lie to yourself about the time that is required. Being ahead of the game is way better than playing catch up.

Panicked sprinting can only be maintained for so long before your lungs explode.

Some BHAGS are now BHAGS and others may be for 2013, 2015, or even 2020. There are no rules on how long it takes you to accomplish your dream, just that you keep going and never, ever quit.

Step 4 – Start trekking and bring the world along.

Growing up we had a huge 7 passenger Ford van with red stripes, swivel bucket seats, and a fancy cup holders. People always knew where we were at any given time. I distinctly remember being in the public library only to be hunted down by a family that had moved away several years prior. They saw the van, knew we were inside, and came to find us and talk in non-library voices.

It was this van but red and the creepy 1970's family didn't come with our van!

Its important that people know where you are so they can come along, help, drive the van when you get tired, or just pop in to say, ‘I knew you would be here! You’re awesome and we love you.’

Oh and make sure if your van has cool swivel bucket seats to turn them to the forward direction while driving so you can see where you are going so as to not get car sick and throw up all over the other passengers.

No one likes being barfed on.

What are your 2012 BHAGs?

Chicken or the Egg?

I eat more chicken in a month than you would think possible.

Thank goodness I actually like chicken, or at least it goes in and with a lot of things; namely vegetables. Seeing how I am in confession mode, I might as well also admit I am a vegetablaholic.

Vegetablaholic (veh-edge-it-uh-bowl-haul-ick) – A person who eat vegetables at all hours of the day. This person has been known to even have broccoli for breakfast. Vegetables are an intrinsic part of their day and rarely can they be found without the smell or peppers or asparagus on their breath. A telltale sign of a vegetablaholic is a person who is lean but is quite bloated after meals.

Somewhere along the way I really took to heart my mom’s admonition to ‘eat your vegetables’ and decided to make up for the years and years of consuming Doritos, chocolate bars, and homemade cookies.

Previously, I could have been considered a ‘recovering vegetablaholic’.

In order to maintain my ‘recovering vegetaboaholic’ state, I constantly baked to have a supply of non-vegetable choices to chow down on whenever the desire to eat came over me. Baking is an art form, not a science. I never understood why the recipe said it would make 6 dozen cookies and I only got 4 dozen out of the same recipe. I followed the recipe to the exact granule of both brown and white sugar and was diligent to complete copious amounts of ‘quality control testing’ throughout the different stages of creating the dough. Also while the first few batches baked I continued to test the integrity of the dough remained high one spoonful at a time in order to ensure a highly fattening, yet completely delicious final product resulted.

cookie dough - chocolate chip

Someone PUH-LEASE explain why this is so tasty?

Despite the fact that I have been known to eat 3 peppers, 1 cups of beans, 2 cups of mushrooms, a few handfuls of carrots, and an apple sized tomato within an 18 hour time period, I am still most likely running at a vegetable deficit. Unfortunately, a quarter lifetime of crappy eating takes more than a few years to overcome.

Some days I lie to myself by making statements like, “Oh I love vegetables. They taste SO good.” Sure, if they are slathered in butter. Butter is the boob job of food. It can make even the droopiest broccoli suddenly seem enticing.

Oh right…I gave up butter too.

Some days I feel like I am going to die a thousand deaths at the hands of a salad. Then I realize it is just the vegetable bloat talking.

There really is too much of a good thing.

I am one of those people, whatever you call it: a bodybuilder, figure athlete, fitness competitor, body shaper, competitor, or crazy lady.

This is why I get up at 4:30 am, eat more vegetables and chicken than most people think is advisable, go to the gym while on vacation, and rarely eat from a menu when I go out for lunch.

More often than not, the response I get from people after I share a little bit about my life is ‘You are SO disciplined. How do you do it?

How do I not do it?

It comes down to the age-old question, ‘What came first the chicken or the egg?

Pure confusion at its finest.

Was I disciplined and learned how to get fit, or was I fit and learned discipline?

Today you are finally going to know the answer to the circuitous question. No longer does it have to annoy you. I am a woman for the people and I hate ridiculous questions.

The farmer.

Turns out its a trick question.

Call me crazy, but I truly believe a person of vision came along and saw either a chicken or an egg and nurtured it so that it could reproduce into more and more eggs and chickens. So whatever she saw was what was first, and that detail is completely irrelevant.

There are things in your life that require no more thought; just action.

Do you find yourself mulling over the origins of dreams and visions in your life, wondering why you have them?

If you want to spend your life eating chicken, you have to stop wondering how it came to be and grab whatever is in front of you and start nurturing it; whether its a chicken or an egg. Before long you will have more success, growth, and results than you know what to do with.

Leave the muddled and confused musings to the people without a vision. You have a big life to live and the world is waiting for more ‘vegetabaholics’ to show up.

Chicken or the egg?

Farmer. Always the farmer.

**Day one of NaNoWriMo – word count 785**