NaNoWriMo Angst: Get Behind Me, Perfectionism!


Good Lord, what have I gotten myself into? I know what you’re going to say: “If you’re signed up for NaNoWriMo, what the *&^% are you doing writing blog posts? Get thee back to thy novel!”

Well, that’s a good point, but I’m trying for a little catharsis here about all the anxieties and insecurities this commitment is bringing up. Here’s a sampling of the self-sabotaging thoughts coming up for me:

  • I haven’t done enough research.
  • I haven’t done enough world building.
  • I haven’t done enough character building.
  • I’m not talented enough to pull off a decent novel.
  • I’ve made this thing way too complicated.
  • I don’t have an outline.
  • It’s selfish to work on this when I have a baby at home. It takes too much of my time and mental energy away from her.
  • I’m behind.
  • What I wrote last night is straight-out crap!
  • I’ll never make the word count.

In looking at these, aside from the guilty thought about my daughter, which does not hold up to reality-testing scrutiny, since I would of course drop everything if she really needed me, I can see that all the other thoughts really amount to the belief: “I’m no good.” Or maybe more specifically: “I’m not perfect, therefore I’m no good, therefore it’s better not to try.”

Well, F you, perfectionism! I hereby give myself permission to:

  • Explore through writing the story.
  • Write crappy stuff.
  • Not make the word count, as long as I complete at least four pomodoros of writing each day, or two on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Be a mom who takes care of her own needs and wants as well as her daughter’s.
  • And oh the unthinkable: Enjoy myself!

One last thing I’ll note before getting back to those pomodoros (if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, see here) is that I was going to blame my internal editor for stalling me, and pronounce, “Get Behind Me, Editor.” And yes, my editor is wanting to stop after every other sentence and revise, which is part of why I’m doing NaNoWriMo, to get out of this habit or at least be able to write in a different way. But the my editor likes to edit, and for him (it feels like a him, although I’m a her) to edit, I have to write; thus it’s not my editor who is really holding me back, stopping me from even starting. It’s this bee-otch Queen Perfectionism inside me who wants to rot my soul with inaction. Down with her, I say again, and back to the real writing at hand . . . fellow WriMos: who’s with me??

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