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As a child, I fished with my father. Dark, quiet nights, sometimes nothing but the calm sound of water lapping the bank, or the buzz of mosquitoes testing the perimeter of whatever insect repellent we wore. It’s been a long time since we’ve done that.

Lately, however, those memories are rushing back. Memories of fish too large for my lanky little arms, fighting against me, tugging so hard on the line I feared a time or two that I’d be pulled in instead of the fish being pulled out.

Memories of determination, refusing to give up; of reeling in those bullish fish.

The cause of these memories? National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and this commitment I’ve made to the program to have 50,000 words by the end of November; the side bet I’ve waged with myself to hit 80,000.

Striving to meet an ambitious daily word count–against all odds and come what may–is like fishing for words that are fighting to stay in the water.

Some days inspiration sleeps in. Creativity goes MIA. Skill leaves a “Be Back Later” sign on the door. And the words are left to swim amuck in an unsupervised pool of mockery and defiance; determined not to be hooked, refusing to be tamed.

I’d really rather not fight with the slippery suckers. Especially when the house is asleep, coffee’s lukewarm, and I’m getting a series of teasing tugs on my line with no bites.

Searching, straining, desperate for words, it gets tempting to just cut the line. Reel it in empty. Fish again another day. Maybe.

But to do that–to give up–is to get pulled in.

When I fished with my father I never got pulled in.

Strained a few muscles. Got mud on my knees. Suffered scrapes.

On the flip side my muscles grew stronger, my stance firm.

I didn’t quit then. I won’t quit now. One day, one word, one catch at a time.

Going fishing. Be back soon. <3

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. ~ Galatians 6:9 NKJV