Once upon a time, when I was thin and single and living the life in my huge, gorgeously hard wood floored courtyard apartment on the north side of Chicago, I kept the same bag of peanut M&Ms in my freezer for almost two years.

Having it there gave me permission to eat them whenever I felt the urge, which is why I didn’t. It was enough to know that it was there if I wanted it, so I didn’t feel the need. And I wore a size 8. Ahem.

I knew that keeping that bag of sugary bliss nearby would keep me in check, because the choice was mine. No one was holding them back from me, telling me I couldn’t have sugar, chocolate or empty calories. Thing is, I don’t do well with others telling me what I can or should do, whether we’re talking diets or work. I think it’s because I want to prove people wrong; I have this perverse need to say ‘hey, you: you were wrong. You said I couldn’t/shouldn’t and I did, and look how fabulous it is. So there.’

chicago

Revisiting Chicago, 2014

Why am I sharing this? Because, for reasons I still don’t even know, I’ve committed myself to a month of challenges that focus on what I should do. To complete the challenges, I have to write consistently. More importantly, I have to write things that don’t result in a paycheck. I’m talking NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. The first is committing to write 50,000 words in the month of November. Of fiction. The latter is writing a blog post every single day in November.

In case you’re new here, I’ve never written fiction in my life. And I’m lucky if I blog twice a month. This isn’t going to be easy.

It’s a ridiculous number of words, especially considering that the words I write to pay the rent won’t count. I worry that the proverbial well will run dry, that the glass of wine will convince me that I can push the words until the next day, and that the next day will turn into December 1st before I keep my word to myself: that my words, even if there’s no price tag attached, mean something.