Starting, Quitting, and NaNoWriMo
Last night I jotted down a number of lines for this post in my designated blogging notebook, reminiscing about my grandma’s pinky-spraining typewriter, the high school correspondence typing course my mom motivated me to finish in record time (thankfully clacked out on an electric typewriter), and some other bits and pieces.
But holding me back from taking a full-on dive into some memories was the title for today’s post. Normally I’ll pick away at a post and then come up with a title after the fact. However, this was one of those rare times when a title popped into my head at the outset. And trying to write outside of those parameters simply was not working.
So here is a confession I did not think I would be making:
I have quit Jon Acuff’s #StartExperiment.
It’s not because anything was (or is) wrong with the experiment, or with any of the Facebook groups I was in affiliated with it. Nor is it because I don’t want to start and then follow through on the hard work required to quit dreaming about things and actually start doing them. I finished round one of the challenge and had merrily signed up for round two a couple of weeks later.
But as I tried to slog through round two, I found myself frustrated by my seeming inability to get anything done. Between trying to work on the project (which was often half-heartedly at best) while keeping up with my job (granted, it’s part-time), blogging, volunteer commitments, and whatnot, I was often feeling overwhelmed and under-productive.
Not to say I use every waking moment wisely. I don’t. Nor do I always make the right decision in what to do. But even as I was feeling twinges of guilt as I quietly closed out of Facebook groups and deleted e-mails, I knew it was the right thing to be doing because since then I’ve been working more on some older projects and committing to a new one (or two). I’ve even begun toying with a story idea for this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
The problem for me, I think, was that I was looking for this experiment to be the “magic bullet” that would make me über-productive with a twitch of my nose. What I was really doing was looking for another distraction or excuse to not tackle the things already in front of me that needed doing. I was ignoring what was already in my hand to do. And that wasn’t doing anyone any favours.
So I quit. And that has led to some good starts (and re-starts). Here’s to crossing the right finish lines (including November’s madcap novel writing adventure)!