#NaNoWriMo: Real Talk from Mary Worth

(Mary Worth is written by Karen Moy, drawn by June Brigman, and distributed by King Features Syndicate.)

As you’ve worked your way through National Novel Writing Month, you’ve probably made careful plans about when to start writing each day, and how long the writing session should be—and, if you have a cat, your cat absolutely does not give a damn about your meticulously calibrated schedule.

This is probably true of dogs as well, but my gut instinct about dogs tells me that they’re usually compliant enough that if they come to interrupt your writing, you can just tell them to chill out and that’s what they’ll do. Of course, I don’t have any dogs, so don’t take my word for it.

I do have cats, though, and I can tell you from experience that if you tell your cat that you are writing and should not be disturbed, your cat will decide that this is an excellent time to leap onto your lap and steer its head right to one of your typing hands, and will probably simultaneously decide that now would be an excellent time to show you its elegant butt, right in front of your face.

The only way to deal with it, of course, is to just endure your way through it, until the cat gets bored and goes off to do something else. You can try lifting the cat off your lap, or off your desk if it’s made its way over there, and dropping it back on the floor, but that’s probably just going to lead to the cat jumping back onto your lap.

Oh, you can probably get away with a gentle nudge in the direction of “off my lap,” but you might as well just wait it out. For one thing, the fluffy little jerk doesn’t mean any harm by it. As far as the cat’s concerned, it’s helping, because your purpose is to lavish it with attention (and food), and it’s giving you an opportunity to do that.

It doesn’t recognize that you’ve decided that your purpose is to write. In that sense, it’s very much like the world, nay, the universe. You’ve probably faced a lot of distractions over the last three and a half weeks. Some of them you can push away, or deliberately ignore. Others can be dismissed if you give them your attention long enough to deal with them. Some, though, you just have to wait out—without getting so far caught up in the distraction that you lose sight of what it is you’re determined to do.

So, by all means, if you’ve got a cat, and your cat decides to invade your #NaNoWriMo session, take a moment to give it some love. But don’t stop thinking about what you need to put on the page as soon as the cat decides to move on.