Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yeah, about Nano...



Image Courtesy of thaikrit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
So I was supposed to return here December 1st with my post-Nano post, full of anecdotes about my success and lessons I learned during the month.

But I ran into a snag.

Rather, a snag ran into me.

Since November 30th I have had numbness/iciness/tingling in my body, most acutely in my left arm and leg, and my energy level has been compromised. Assorted tests have revealed nothing so far, but I am not worried. I know I am healed in every respect… just waiting for my body to get the memo.

Thus I was in the hospital sans laptop for three days, and as my fingers were disinclined to cooperate, I was unable to post. Had they felt differently, this is the gist of what I would have said:

“I did not complete Nano this year, and failing has never felt so good.”
Let me be clear: I am not an advocate of quitting for quitting’s sake. (Insert motivational phrase about the power of perseverance here.) But success requires knowing when your current track is leading you astray and that it is time to pause, reassess, and redirect.

Such was the case after completing my last post. My headache persisted, rendering me unable to type or think. As the November 30th deadline approached, I faced the likelihood of not even making it to 35k, a feat I accomplished by November 17th two years ago, bracing myself for the soul-shattering shame.

But it never came.

Instead I became aware of a surprising wellspring of peace at the thought of falling short. The expected downward spiral toward the “Maybe I should just stick with Fanfiction” abyss was aborted by the realization that completed Nano or not, I am still a writer. That this one contest, this one deadline did not define me. And for an overachieving perfectionist in recovery, this was a groundbreaking revelation.

Life-changing even.


Some of this new-found poise stems from the writing I’ve done in the two years since Nano2011. I have three novels in various stages, and dare say I like each of them enough to write my name on their author pages. My fanfiction profiles on two popular sites boast steady traffic and a loyal, enthusiastic readership. Moreover I am blessed enough to call some of my favorite writers friends, and their struggles with this aggravating art validate and demystify mine.


But most of it, like all important changes in my life, stem from the confidence afforded me as a child of God. Knowing He approves of me banishes any self-flagellation I might try to adopt. Yes, I have moments where my dreams feel like a waste of imagination and energy, and I wonder how I ever belived they would come true. But those moments dissolve into unimportance when I recall that in Christ, I am everything I need to be and through Him, I can do everything I need to do. 


The struggle is part of the story, and if I keep writing, I will someday reach The End. And so armed with that truth, I can accept finishing Nano at 33,726 words, knowing there are many more to come.

What recent non-successes do you need to accept? How do you cope when you miss the mark? I’d love to hear from you!

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