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Final Stretch: Beginning to Feel Okay with Quitting

June 26, 2012

Here we are in the final stretch. Week four of the Camp Nanowrimo challenge (try to hold back your shouts of joy.) I know my blogging has decreased because of the contest, and what little there has been ends up being overtaken by the crazy descent into madness. Rest assured the end is in sight. Lucky for you that handy word counter on the right hand side of the blog should display how close I am. As of writing this I am sitting at a little over 42,000 words. Considering my previous writing attempts never succeeded beyond a couple of pages, I would like to take a moment and just say, woo hoo.  This undertaking was first committed to by a rather rash decision-making process, one fueled by a desire for some type of challenge. I had just quit grad school and made a move of over 500 miles. The funny thing is when you quit grad school (at least for me) you don’t necessarily feel this enormous amount of relief. Instead I found (still do) myself wondering what now. I felt (feel) lost, alone and confused. There is a part of me that is second guessing the decision, a part of me that is trying to figure out alternatives and a part of me that is just plain freaking out. I have written in the past that I like to have a plan. Being back here meant that there wasn’t really a plan in place, or at least not one that I could easily define. Settling in to the new apartment, had meant that I was at least occupied for a while. I had something to do, something to get out of the bed for in the morning (even if it was just trying to figure out where to put the coffee pot or toaster.) This worked for a little while, but after unpacking a large majority of our stuff I started to realize I didn’t know what to do next. Part of the move had been based on the idea that I would get a chance to try to have my dream job.

A late night dinner with a friend had led to my admission about wanting to be an author. I had been writing since I was younger, but never really thought much about it in terms of it being a viable occupation. I do remember one year I wrote the start of a story, and I shared it with one of my aunts during Thanksgiving,she read the story and was very encouraging, I think in that weekend I started to daydream about becoming an author, but as real life set in I pushed the dream aside and instead focused on a more realistic goal. Becoming a college professor. We all know how that turned out. So here I am almost six months after that fateful dinner, coming close to the 50k mark in terms of my first novel. I know it isn’t perfect. I know it probably contains a lot of crap. But for the first time yesterday I started to believe that this dream job might have a chance at being real.  As I plugged away on the story I have been working on for the past month, I felt like there might be something to this writing thing. I know that what I am really doing with this contest is writing the first draft of something that has a high chance of being hidden away, buried in the back yard under the cover of moonlight to never be spoken of again. I understand that just because I committed the words to “paper” doesn’t make it a good story. I realize I still have a few days left of the contest, and a good 7,000 words left before I cross the finish line. I know that just because the contest is done doesn’t mean the work is done. I get that I will still have a lot of editing and rewriting ahead of me, and there is a strong chance it doesn’t amount to anything. Yet for the first time since quitting I started to feel like it might have been a good choice. Quitting might have been the right choice.

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