Tah Dah!

Drum roll please.
(clears throat)
Ladies and Gentleman, it is with great pleasure that I announce the completion of NaNoWriMo 2007.
No more waking up in the middle of the night, crawling out of my warm bed and firing up the laptop so I could make my word count for the day.
No more staying up late to write just a little bit more, so I could be ahead of the game come morning.
No more hauling the laptop everywhere just in case I have a few minutes to write in between rehearsals.
You would think I'd be feeling a huge relief, as if a great weight had been lifted.
But, oddly enough, I feel a bit sad. As tough as it's been sometimes to keep the momentum going, to find the time to sit down and get those words on the screen, it's also been very satisfying.
And that's what I like best about this annual writing challenge. I like knowing that I can do it - I can have the discipline, the perserverance, the creativity, to write 50,000 words in 30 days. They're unpolished words, but they are a very good start on telling a story I wanted to tell, on bringing to life an idea that's been kicking around in my head for quite a while.
I had dinner with a former co-worker last night, a young woman I am so fond of. She was my "alter ego" at work for a long time, and we were perfect working partners. I miss her in my office life, but we make it a point to get together every few months and catch up.
She just ran the marathon here in Detroit - the whole 26 miles - in spite of having a strained muslce. Now, I simply cannot fathom having a body that could run for 26 miles - it boggles my mind. The trick, she says, is in good training, and in knowing how to pace yourself. The reward is the pure satisfaction of crossing that finish line, knowing you've set yourself a challenge, worked hard, and completed it.
Sort of like writing 50,000 words in 30 days. When I told her about my own personal writing marathon, she was flabbergasted."I could never do that in a million years," she said, shaking her head.

"Right back at ya," I told her.
We all have areas in life where we excel, things that excite us, motivate us, bring us pleasure. Setting challenges for ourselves in those areas and then succeeding in completing those challenges is what helps us rise above the petty and thankless tasks that often take up so much of our time.
I will definitely sleep better tonight, knowing I've completed one of mine.