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November 26, 2012

It’s always darkest before the dawn, or so they say. Life has been speeding right along this November, finding me feeling rather like a sock tumbling through the dryer. It seems I scarcely catch my breath before the next task sneaks up on me. I do not mean this as a complaint, but rather it comes as a bit of shock considering how I thought the month would go. While it was a rather slow start and I felt overly confident in my NaNoWriMo experience, here we are the last week of the month and I am still trying to figure out where all the time went. (I swear I lost a few days there in the middle.) When I participated in the camp session of this crazy month-long writing event, I did so with caution and not a little bit of fear. I attacked the daily word counts with vigor and tried desperately to hit the goal. There were a few sleepless nights, as the numbers climbed. Crossing the finish line with a small window to spare, I felt pride in my achievement and at my progress.

As November started to make some noise of its impending arrival I decided to once again jump on the writing band wagon and try my hand at the competition. As I mentioned above life has decided to jump in all at once (along with a wicked case of writer’s block) and I have noticed my numbers languishing to the side as I take on a variety of challenges. I can’t say I thought things would be easy, especially considering the way the month usually plays out (a big ol’ holiday in there and all) but I can admit I didn’t expect it to be this difficult. With each passing day the lack of major progress on my word count has left me feeling drained and quite discouraged. While I have had a few rally days, there has been less of those and I am falling behind as I try to gain some traction. This time around has found me needing to force myself to sit down and write. In June I still had to gently remind myself to commit words to paper (screen) but it seems as though it required a heck of a lot less effort. I also find myself voicing the desire to have a day or two off. It first started around the time the creative juices began drying up. “Thing’s wouldn’t be so bad if I could just take a day off, just a day to collect my thoughts.” For those of you who have never participated in the competition, it doesn’t work this way. Each day you are supposed to hit a specified word count and a total number goal (to be able to produce 50,000 words in the 30 day time span.) As I struggled with the direction of my story I kept putting off the writing until later each day, fear taking hold as I scrambled to hit the word count. The story limps along as I realize how much I will need to cut later (which is terribly discouraging.) I have my outline and a direction to go, but as I write it seems the narrative stalls, instead of clipping along at a steady pace filled with action, the damn thing contains the entertainment value of watching grass grow. I have also come to realize that the 50,000 word mark is not going to be enough (especially as I ramble ever onward about useless stuff) and so I struggle to justify the habitual writing for this month. If I know I am going to make changes, and I know the story will not be finished by the end of the month, why should I bust my hump trying to hit some arbitrary word count? Or so my brain argues. As this doubt starts to seep in, the flood gates begin to buckle, discouragement allows that little bastard the internal editor to make some noise, to draw my attention and I can feel the criticism beginning. The doubt, from lack of progress in word count, lack of fluidity of words. It builds until fear starts to paralyze my hands, I begin to dismiss my direction for the story, to push away any ideas regardless of how well they might work. The biggest fear came back up; that it didn’t matter if I continued on this project or not. I am not a talented enough writer to sell anything. I could hear my internal critic saying this writing thing is just a folly, that I am doing this because I can’t find a real job. It’s a substitute for quitting grad school. (My internal critic fights dirty)

I entered into Thanksgiving and the four-day weekend with fear. I knew it would be busy. I knew it would be easy to put off the writing and I debated whether I should throw in the towel already. I went back and forth about it for most of Thursday and as Friday began to take its form I felt that it wouldn’t be worth it to write. I was behind in my word count, the plot was over used and I knew my writing was no good (even as a first draft.) In other words I was ready to give up. As my husband and I took off in search of some late in day black Friday deals I happened to grab the post. Sifting through the junk, and bills I happened to find an envelope addressed to me from a friend. I wondered if by chance it was an early Holiday card (finding it slightly odd it wasn’t addressed to both my husband and myself) but as it turns out it was meant just for me. Instead of the holiday themes I expected instead I found encouragement. At the time when I was most ready to throw in the towel, here was this message from a friend, a recognition that my efforts were worth something (no matter what my internal critic would like to say.)  With her words echoing in my head I have decided to buckle back down and put forth my best effort for this story. Instead of allowing my internal critic to take hold and have free rein I am caging her up, and I am going to try to push through. With less than a week to go I realize I may not make it, but I am not going down without a fight.

So I want to say a heartfelt Thank You to my friend and our lady from the comments, Amanda.


From → NaNoWriMo, Writing

  1. Amanda Gerodias permalink

    You are most very welcome! I thought I still had your address from when we went for your birthday, but I could not find it. Then I heard you were going to be in town so I thought about just giving it to you. In the end, as you know we were not able to meet up, but I had also decided it would be much more fun to get it in the mail, so I got your address from your husband so I could get it out in the mail. I had actually intended on getting it to you earlier in the month but time flew by for me as well and I did not get in out quite when I had intended.

    • It’s funny how all those things didn’t work out and I ended up getting it on the day I needed it the most! Thanks again!!!

  2. Warrior Poet permalink

    Beautiful & inspiring. Thank you!

  3. Q – Wonderful! “Life” does get in the way sometimes. 😎

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