This year I have again challenged my readers to join in the writing frenzy known as the National Novel Writing Month ( This year, my attempts have been an abject failure. The goal of the challenge is to capture 50,000 words towards a novel in the 30 days of November. We are at the half way point and we should be at 25,000 words. I am just shy of 10,000. I have thrown away two weekends that should have provided the time to get ahead of the curve. My only chance of meeting the goal is to use the time off that I have planned for Thanksgiving.

I have written several articles on how to stay focused, break through writer’s block, and various writing techniques. I have failed to heed my own advice. The cares of the world (work, family, yard work) have interrupted my writing and my chain of thought. The weekend days, those days that should provide the best opportunity for writing, have been the very days I have not written at all. I certainly hope that each of you has fared better.

So if I cannot really write about writing today, I have another topic to bring up. As most of you who have read my other articles are aware, I am a college and professional football (American) fan. I have an observation, not just from this weekend, but an over all consideration for the season. Both at the collegiate level and the professional level, effort are underway to make the game safer by implementing a helmet to helmet contact rule. What I have observed in the application of this rule. If the defender lowers his blow to strike the chest or midsection and the offensive player also lowers and initiated the helmet to helmet contact, the defender is flagged.

I understand the difficulty in determining intent or over aggressiveness. In the cases that I thought were incorrectly called, there was no net effect on the game. I believe that they will work out the system, similar to the way they have incorporated a good system for calling spearing (launching oneself head first). I also understand that the officials are erring on the side of safety. There is one part of this rule that I like, fines are assessed on players even if there is no penalty during the game. This action will teach the players that even if they get away with a dangerous hit during the game, reviews will still result in corrective action after the fact.

I diverged from writing to write about sports. I should return to writing. I hope that you do too.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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