Friday, October 14, 2016

Poem-a-Day and NaNoWriMo

November.  Poets test themselves by writing a poem each day.  Novelists attempt to write 50,000 words of a book.  Pumpkin-spice everything still saturates the atmosphere like cinnamon smog.  And I get an unhealthy dose of inadequacy coated in guilt.

"All the real writers are doing interesting projects this month", my mind hisses as I skim past blog posts and articles about maximizing efficiency during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
I try to ignore tweets about who is doing what challenge.  I push down hollowness when people say they find the most support during November's marathons of words; I struggle a lot with finding anything resembling a writer's group, so it's difficult to swallow... just a bit.

But, when I express how I feel to some of my able-bodied writing acquaintances, they don't understand.  I can join in whenever I want, in their point of view.  Some imply I'm lazy without saying it outright... which does nothing beneficial.
I've completed the Poem-a-Day challenge a few times.  It's a cool feeling, all the progress I can make in thirty days.  The ghost of pride sinks into my soul for a small rest.
 It's also nerve-racking.  Exhausting (at points).  Something that interrupts my Thanksgiving visit to my family's place.  There are even flickers of self-hatred, when midnight nears and words are far.  Damn it all, though!  I'm a REAL WRITER when I do the challenge...

Oh... there's the word "real" again.  Real still.  Is this the fire I must roll through, to be real?  Who came up with this concept?  I'm leveling it against myself, but... is it "mine"?  Have I swallowed ableist junk just to regurgitate it?  Do I compare myself too readily to those without my... intricacies?
Maybe, this November, the challenge shouldn't be a specific word count or a mountain of new poems.  Maybe it should be a month of self-kindness.

I'm a writer no matter how many words get written by 11:59 PM on November 30th.  I was a poet before it, and I'll be one after.  Now, if I can just remember that in November...

Do you have complicated feelings about November writing challenges?  How do you reassure yourself when you're feeling like a phony or lazy?

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