I quit NaNoWriMo, and I’m okay with that.

by Renée Layberry

About two weeks into my writing marathon with NaNoWriMo, I quit. Just like that. I had a total of about thirty minutes of angst about it, then I was done. And I felt simply relieved.

The whole point of me starting the whole endeavor was to try to begin a serious daily writing habit, and actually having something to produce, something of worth, something I felt proud of. 1666 words a day, for me, was not easy – at least, in the format I was attempting (fiction), even with an outline already sketched out.

In another context, 1666 words in a day is a blip on the radar, especially considering how I write easily 40 emails a day in my correspondence at work alone. Are they good words? Well, they do the trick. I try to be as circumspect as possible. Handling manuscripts all day tends to do that. I want to use as few words as possible, and I want them to be well-chosen.

I feel a surprising lack of guilt, given my natural tendency to be hard on myself. In the same spirit as my well-intentioned and extremely ambitious weight-loss and fitness programs that start off with a bang and fizzle out, I’m learning to pace myself, building up to where I want to be in my ideal writing world. I’m feeling extremely curious these days about what I see in the media, and I want to dismantle, explore, discuss, and rebuild those concepts with words in the context of dialogue with community.

Mat Wright of Wright Result had good things to say about Blogs and Journalism, and his words resonated with me. It affirmed my belief that I must feed what stokes the fire in my belly, and at this point, it’s just not about flailing at my keyboard at 5:30 AM with my eyes (and mind) half-closed to meet a minimum word count. My best writing happens when I’m feeling my way around through my keyboard, almost like reaching out and reading by braille. Fiction might be the genre for that at some point eventually, but it just isn’t right now. I have an appetite to read, to become increasingly educated and informed, to discuss, and to share. Blogging/Journalism is where I want to seriously invest that energy for the foreseeable future.

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