Where Have I Been?


I should have given y’all a heads-up that I’d take a hiatus from blogging for November. Last month, I spent all of my writing time on NaNoWriMo. This year was successful, and I came out with a dang good first draft.

Since moving to North Dakota, I haven’t been able to connect with the writing community very well because I live so far away from the bigger cities where it seems all the other participants live.

This year, I found the online gathering spots and got to do a few sprints with my regional participants. I hope we can stay in touch for the rest of the year, but in reality, we probably won’t reach out again until next October.

This year was also the first time that I completed a story in NaNo. The next draft will be longer because I left some gaps in the story, but this time, I know where the story ends.

In the past, NaNo’s 50k served as a starting point for a novel which I’d be too burned out on to finish. At least a half dozen projects sit on my hard drive as a testament to this.

One thing I’ve learned during this year’s NaNo and will have to continue to work on in the future is letting go of the inhibitions that lock me up.

Reading comments from many NaNo participants this year, many of us harbor a fear of being judged by what a person writes. If it doesn’t come out absolutely perfect the first time, we are terrible writers. We should quit if one person doesn’t like what we wrote.

I suffer from imposter syndrome, the inability to believe I’m good enough, that I can actually write well. Even after three books and countless “A” grade essays and contest wins, I still lock up over a single word choice, believing that word might make or break my entire writing career.

This thought trend is not unique to my writing. Looking back, I recognize it popping up throughout my working career, college and even high school. I would best describe it as a frenzied attempt to make everyone happy all the time. I have an ingrained expectation of meeting everyone else’s needs quickly and perfectly so that I might get a little time to myself at some point.

Over the years, many people have given me the same sage advice that you can’t please everyone. However, when that way of thinking is part of your core programming, you literally can’t shut it off with just a conscious realization of that truth.

This month caused me to change my strategy of dealing with this anxiety, and so far, it’s going well. I no longer stress about punctuation to the extent I sit and stare blankly at the screen, and am perfectly fine with someone not liking what I write or how.

In this next year, I’ll hopefully get more written, edited and published so that this is more of a side job than just a hobby. NaNoWriMo was a success for me in more than a couple of ways. I wish they had an event in mid-winter, but I’ll just have to settle for CampWrimo in April.

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