There's a proverb which says, famously, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. As of this morning, I find myself hoping there's a fork somewhere. I started July with the good intention of 50,000 words under my belt by the 30th, and according to my Camp NaNoWriMo chart, I only have 12,376. Between a head cold, some seismic changes to my usual routine, and a heavy dose of stress, I feel another expression is in order:
I have had several people suggest to me that I change my word-count so that I can still "win", but to me, that feels like cheating. I need to be able to settle with the idea that goals are not always met, you see. I grew up under a lot of pressure to be not necessarily perfect, but good enough: and falling short of that caused me a great deal of anxiety. I struggle with it to this day, but a combination of supportive, lovely friends and a steady diet of mindfulness and meditation have begun to help me square with the reality that not everything can be completed, not everyone will be happy, and it's really about taking care of myself.
I know I don't usually get so personal on this blog, and that's by design: this site is more about the worlds I create than it is about me. But I know that all writers struggle with themselves during their process, and I've found comfort in being able to read others' words and say "Oh! It isn't just me!" Maybe this will help someone feel that way, too.
It's hard for me to let go of a goal which is tied to something I care very much about. It puts my stomach in knots, and almost immediately brings tears to my eyes, because I have always been a very emotional person (something else I'm in the process of not just accepting, but embracing). If I've spent a very long time expecting that goal, and need to change it, well, the giant neon sign that says "FAILURE" lights up over my head, and I'm sure everyone in the world can see it, because I've dashed their expectations for me. But here's what I'm learning: usually, I'm the only one who can see that giant neon sign ... and even more importantly, I can be the one to pull the plug.
I'm trying to surround myself with reminders that sometimes saying no or walking away is okay. Currently, my desktop wallpaper is a lovely thing I found on the internet. I wish I could credit the author of it, but it reads as follows:
Some days you will not be able to write, and that's okay. Every now and again we need to be proud of ourselves for just getting out of bed and facing the day.
Not bad advice when you're battling the summer sinus cold from hell. So, it is with a heavy heart that I let go of the July 2016 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. It's okay, Camp. The Proper Bearing will still be finished, but at its own pace. More than any other thing I've written, it's setting its own terms with me, and teaching me a ridiculous amount in the process. I suspect I have to sit with a scene I wrote, recently, and consider its sudden, unexpected relevance to my own life.
I thank you for allowing me this break from my usual blog content, and hope to be back on track again soon. If nothing else, I'll have a good chunk of stress off my back and some good news to share in a couple of weeks.
Until next time, I remain your hostess,
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