Sunday, November 13, 2011

"You're doing NaNo? Sounds like a dirty iPod joke if you ask me."

QOTD: Tell us a funny Thanksgiving dinner story! (C'mon, we've all got those memories of Grandpa cracking funny--but not really funny--jokes and Baby Cousin Jack spitting peas at your brother.)

Okay, I know the title is super lame--but it was either that or "You know you're crazy for doing NaNo when you told your Mom and she said, laughing, 'A book? Hun, you wouldn't even write those This I Believe essays in grade school, what makes you think you can write a novel...?'." Yeah, I'm glad I went with this blog title instead. ^^

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, there are eight days left! How are we feeling about this? Excited? Frantic? Indifferent? (*points to self*) It's time to share with you all my word count. I am not really ready to expose myself to shame, but here: 


Yep, my word count has stayed the same for weeks. Not days, weeks. And when has that ever been okay? (Answer: Never.)

Yet, here I am feeling indifferent. What is this? I should be feeling terrible about myself. I mean, this was supposed to be year that I would make myself a winner. What happened to that? 

In my defense, I have been writing. Just not my novel. I have five papers due this month and I just turned in one of them (five pages on the representation of Congress!) yesterday morning. I do think that's a forgivable reason for not noveling, but still....the real winners of NaNo are the writers who get their 1,666 words in every single day no matter what priorities they have in real life. They make time. They choke out words, as many as possible;  spit them into their word processor until that 1,666th word is down. 

Me? I'm listing excuses about why my word count is still four digits long. I mean, I spend half my time cheering on others who are nearing the finish line themselves; why can't I do the same for myself?

Which brings me to today's main focus. At the start of November, did you tell any of your family or friends or the whole wide world you were going to do NaNo (the novel challenge, silly, not the iPod)? What did you say? "Hi Mummy and Daddy, if I don't respond to your calls this month it's because I'm in my closet writing a novel, okay? Thanks, love you, bye!"?

More importantly, what was their reaction? 

Reactions often play a huge role in our perception of what we believe we are doing with NaNoWriMo. If most of the reactions you receive were generally positive statements like "Oh wow, you GO girlfriend!!!" and "This is perfect for you! You LOVE to write! This is going to be so much're going to love it," then chances are you were compelled to feel the same way about your literary journey. 

But if most people you tell say things like, "50k in a month? Give it up before it's too late to save yourself," "What a waste of time," and "You're doing NaNo? What's that mean? Sounds like a dirty iPod joke if you ask me," then diving headfirst into the challenge may not have started out so great for you. 

I didn't exactly tell the world I'm doing NaNo this year, but I did tell a lot friends (okay, basically my entire friends list on Facebook once I'd updated my status). The collective response I got was: "Oh God, my fingers hurt just at the thought of writing that much..." and "Wow, um, okay! Good luck with that!" Don't get me wrong - they're all pretty supportive of me, but I can tell that behind those good lucks were skepticism and doubt--which is a totally natural reaction coming from people who have not heard of NaNoWriMo before. 

The problem, though, is that the reactions of people who matter a lot to you tend to rub off on you. Seeing as I am easily influenced by others, this is probably what's happened to me as well. I really need to fix this. I need to be my own cheerleader, my own source for inspiration and motivation no matter what other people are thinking. 

In the end, we've all got to believe in ourselves. We can't rely on other people to galvanize our creative juices and keep us going, because when it all comes down to it, this is our fight.  The truth is, we don't need to win NaNoWriMo to feel good about ourselves, anyway. Every word we put down is a winner. This is our journey, and we are the only ones who can reach the goal we set out to attain, whether that be 50,000 words or 5,000. Let's all keep this in mind as we're gearing up for this last week of writing. 

I can't promise that I'll reach 50,000 words in the next seven days, but I can promise that at the end of NaNo I will be able to say I pushed aside my papers, skipped post-turkey/stuffing/macaroni exercise and worked my butt off to reach my final word count. 

What reactions did you receive when you told others you were doing NaNo? How did it affect your own attitude? After 22 days of literary frenzy, how has your attitude and the attitudes of said others changed?



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