On August 21st, I put out a tweet, announcing my intention to build my own 16×24 foot house. Here we are, three months later. I’ve invested about 24 working days into the project, and the picture is where it sits right now. November was going to be a tough month, but I never knew how tough.
I got a full day in at the property today, or at least, I rounded up. I’ve been getting some long half-days here and there, so today made up for those. Assuming 8 hours per day, that puts me 192 hours into this build. But getting a full day in November to work on the house isn’t easy.
November is National Novel Writing Month, a phrase coined in 1999 by the founders of NaNoWriMo. The premise of their little party is simple. Make a commitment to write 50,000 words in a single month. Normally, I can do this standing on my head. So what do I do?
I swear, subconsciously I must be some kind of masochist. Because I like leading the pack and helping my writing peers, as well as newcomers, I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo, and usually I’m prowling social media sprinkling inspiration everywhere I go. This year, I went big. I teamed up with Mattias Ahlvin and a bunch of other writer-folk, and we started a project called NaNoInspo. We collected prizes, organized some blog posts, made inspirational posters for tweets and facebook groups, and instagram. We got a handful of sign-ups, and I’ve been crafting a new “daily inspiration email” each morning or afternoon.
On top of this, I’m sitting just over 45,000 words into my NaNo novel: Making Gold. I’ve also been working close to 40 hours per week at the day-job, even though that was supposed to be a part-time gig.
Serving two masters
I want to be out living at my property, so I can lower costs to the point where my writing can be my sole focus. But this isn’t easy. Nothing about off-grid living is easy. If I’ve learned nothing else over the past couple of years, it’s that. Still, I’m committed to the ideal of it.
Plan – grow, generate, or otherwise produce 90% of the stuff I need to live (based on cost analysis) on my own. Reduce costs to cell phone, internet, staple whole foods, and gas for the backup generator. This isn’t easy, but you likewise don’t get there by sitting on your hands.
So, I must finish my little house on the hill. I’m making some serious progress. Maybe not as fast as I wanted to on the 21st of August, but I’m headed in the right direction. Today, I put soffits under the eves and hung some more insulation.
The real problem is, how do I devote all of my spare time to both writing AND building up my writing spot? When I’m working that day, it’s an easy choice. It takes half an hour to get to the property from here, and if I’ve already put in 8 hours at work, there isn’t time left to get anything appreciable done out there, so I write.
It’s days like today, when I have a day-off, that I fall into my own trap. 8 hours writing, or 8 hours working on the house. It’s these days that writing takes a back seat. I still try to get it done (I just finished adding 1118 words to my NaNo draft), but it’s a hard choice to make. Super hard.
I throw myself at the mercy of the universe.
I’m going to be so glad when November is over with that I’ll probably do a back-flip. Too many ingredients in the stew this month, even for me. Yet, I struggle, I persevere, and I’ll make it to the other side eventually. I haven’t really lost any momentum on the house because of my new novel draft, so for the moment I’ll keep things as they are. Writing on work days, house on days off. A little writing on house days and a touch of house parts shopping on writing days, but I need to keep a fairly clear initiative so I don’t go insane.
I guess that’s it. I wanted to say something else, but I really can’t recall now, or format it the way I would like. I’ll let you get on with your night. Have a blessed one, and thanks for dropping in.