I’m a perfectionist. Type A personality. I don’t quit things. I finish them, and they’re always perfect. If they’re not I need to take anti-anxiety meds and hide in my closet.
Very rarely this can be a positive thing — makes me get things done right the first time — but mostly it’s the fucking worst. I mean, generally this attitude makes me unable to deal with failure of any sort, which basically makes me unable to function because being human means failing at something on almost a daily basis. No one is every any good at anything until they practice, yet I’m the worst sort of drill sergeant in my own head, screaming at me, calling me a maggot, because I wasn’t perfect the first time — or because I THOUGHT about quitting.
Gods know how I ever got to a point where I not only finished but published two novels. I think I have, entirely, my outside support system to thank for that.
This year I signed up for Nanowrimo. Again. I do it every year, it seems (except 2010 — can’t remember why not, now, but likely I was just under unholy amounts of stress and made the smart decision) — Nanowrimo is like a drug I cannot resist. Its siren call urges me on to the greatest heights of success…or the lowest depths of failure.
Often I beat myself up for not finishing Nano. Even last year, when I reached 60,000 words two weeks before the end of November — I was upset because I hadn’t actually finished the story, which was what I had set out to do. Give me a chance and I’ll always find a way to be hard on myself.
Which is silly — a year later and that book, the one I started for Nano 2012, is published. Obviously I’m not a failure. My brain is a liar.
So this year I decided I wanted not only to write my ID — that is, write whatever the hell I wanted and not worry about story mechanics or whether my main character was too Mary Sueish or not — but also publish as I finished chapters. I felt it would give me…some sort of accountability, if only to myself.
I then decided to pants writing a story set in a world that needed extensive worldbuilding. Not my best decision.
At the beginning of November I was still deceiving myself into thinking I could do this, even without any portable writing tool — my laptop is on the fritz and experiments with the iPad have revealed it’s quite impossible to use it to write away from home. At least until Scrivener has an app for it.
And then came the editing and formatting delays with Stranger Skies, which I’ve mentioned here before. And I got so caught up with the work of publishing that I had to put writing aside.
I stressed about this for a while. How could I not? I was failing again.
And then at some point the stress just…melted away. The stress regarding Nano, at least. I got to the end of the formatting and editing work and…just never got back to Nano.
It’s not that I’m dissatisfied with what I’ve written so far; far from it. I think I have the beginnings of a good story there. I just don’t have the energy to write in the constraints of Nano this year. And, honestly, I should really be focusing on some WiPs before I go starting new projects to get halfway through before dropping.
So I’m embracing quitting this year. I’m not winning Nano; I’m not even going to up my word count any higher than where it is — a piddly 3,763. I’m letting it sit and I’m going to be okay with that.
Even if I need a little help from my good friend chocolate.