Since 2014, I have gleefully participated in November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but since winning 2014, the fuel of my NaNo fire only leaks out. NaNoWriMo is an event full of support, challenges, exercise of discipline, and, most importantly, fun. Yet it hasn’t been much fun for me since last year’s November run or the following camps.
I don’t do well under pressure, and, well… NaNoWriMo comes with plenty of pressure: a giant, looming deadline all month long. Balancing my struggles with deadlines and other life commitments I floundered to keep up with already (college, my relationship, family, a new job, sleeping, eating…), I didn’t do well. And I found it difficult to look at what I did accomplish instead of what I didn’t. I felt like a failure.
As any writer will tell me, this is what it means to be a writer. NaNoWriMo may have pressure, but if I ever want to be a published author, I have to learn to live under deadlines. Writing is not the only aspiration with a deadline either. The world is filled with deadlines. Everyone’s life has a deadline… and that’s the one deadline we shouldn’t stress about. Back to my point, I never want to give up on NaNoWriMo, but I also don’t want to participate when it stops being fun. Once more, however, any writer will tell me that writing is not always fun… as a writer myself, I can definitely nod my head. Writing isn’t always fun. BUT, when it is, all that self-doubt and running through water is worth it. When writing is fun, magic happens between the storyteller and the story.
Before, I used to think quitting when a task became miserable was okay, and I still do. What I believe more than that, however, is that the said task needs to be thought about before abandoned. Being an author is what I want to do, what my heart and gut demand of me, so when writing gets hard, I can’t step away or give up all the time. Occasionally, sure, but then I need to get back to work. A time when quitting was the right choice to make was when I quit waitressing and busing. Everyday after work, I went home sobbing, I dreaded going in each day, I lost my smile at work, I developed unhealthy eating habits, and I started giving up on myself. I felt defeated, and even when the job was not as difficult as it felt, I created a negative space and pinned myself in. When I quit and started college, my life became much brighter.
Quitting, like every other action in life, is what you make of it. Switching jobs or sticking through can be the right choice depending on the thought process. I could have stayed miserable after quitting my job and resolve to change nothing; I could continue writing but hate every word of my work and never strive to improve it. I could have even stayed waitressing and busing, changing my perception of it, but the problem was that I didn’t want to put in the work. In order to make quitting a successful action, work still needs to be done to have a good outcome. With a positive mindset and a willingness to improve, any choice can become the right choice.
We have so much power to decide the course of our lives, and it’s always important to remember that. Now I’m going to push through this CampNaNoWriMo July and get as much writing done as possible, because this is not where I quit!