Sixth grade, 2nd trimester marked the last time I ever got a B on a report card. Actually, I got 2. My GPA was a 3.8. I cried. At least part of my frustration was knowing that my academic rival, who like me had gotten a 4.0 on his first trimester report card, had beaten me by again scoring perfect grades. Studying like crazy, I got a 4.0 on my next report card to his 3.7. I was elated. I'd won not only this semester, but the whole year. This joy was private, however. I never said a word to him. For all he knew, we were never in a competition.
Sixteen years later, it's time for NaNoWriMo. The goal is to get 50,000 words in one moth. My good friend Michelle has gotten together a group of writers all dedicated to completing a novel in November and sends us daily emails with words of encouragement and everyone's word count. So naturally, I have turned this kind and loving gesture into a competition. It's not enough to write 50,000 words. I have to write it first! Especially since I narrowly "lost" last year. Sure I posted 54,000 words and completed the task 4 days early, but someone got to 50,000 1 day before me and I can't let it happen again.
That's why reaching 34,000 words in 15 days (or 2/3s finished at the halfway mark) isn't good enough. For who should be beating me, but the kind and encouraging Michelle (currently at 36,000 words)? I won't have it! (Waves fist at the sky and gnashes teeth in agony.) I cannot lose 2 years in a row! Victory shall be mine if I must type until my fingers bleed!!!
Did I mention I'm overdramatic, too? So many lovely traits come out when you're feeling the pressure.