NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I’ve got around 6,000 words of the 50K, but really I stopped writing after the first few days. It wasn’t some gradual fade either. It was a full on, dead stop, right in mid-sentence.
Not only didn’t I make it, I hardly tried.
The easiest reason to give is work. It’s the reason most people give and I would certainly be within my rights to do so. After all, it’s not like we’re lollygagging. Still, I think that’s the easy out for me. Over the years, I’ve worked lots of crazy jobs under tight deadlines and still managed to get my writing time in.
Writing is about showing up, and I haven’t been showing up.
If I added up all the words I’ve written in the last year, it wouldn’t amount to much more than a week’s output of my former writing self. Still, even though I’m not putting down words, it doesn’t mean I’m not writing. I’ve had ideas for stories and books. I still get excited when I think about getting to the keyboard. I still haunt the bookstores and hear the tales calling to me from the stacks.
I’m still writing.
There are some people who will say that I’m kidding myself, that I’m not really writing. I don’t really care about that. Frankly, those people are the same people who are likely to tell you that story X, Y, or Z is awful or that you’ll never be a writer or that even if you are a writer you’ll never make a living at it. These are the same people who will push you down in the gutter and tell you to get back up again too.
Fuck those people.
Writing is about showing up every day. This is true. Writing is also about looking at the world a little differently than most people. It’s about looking into the deep “why’s” of the world. It’s about ancient patterns that persist across the whole of human history. Writing is about a single moment and what it means to one very particular person. Writing is about song and tears and the red hot passions that lead people to love and kill each other. Writing is about humanity, and I haven’t stopped being human just yet.
I’m still writing. How about you?
5 thoughts on “Still Writing”
Those same folks don’t always remember or even know how much mental work goes into writing before words make it to the page. Just keep plugging along.
Personally, I’m taking a month off after making myself sick getting my last project to publication earlier in the week. That’s not to say I’m not going back through the manuscript I’ll be rewriting come January while I knit and sew Christmas gifts. I’m just stepping back from the keyboard for a few weeks. I’ll never stop making stories. It’s like breathing. There’s no way to stop without dying.
What a fabulous affirmation of what it means to be a writer. Thanks Jamie!
Well said. That’s true for artists too. So true.
I quit NaNoWriMo three days in this year. I had my story from before that I was going to revive and work on. I just stopped in full intentional decision. It felt so good to say , “No, that way is not the way for me.” I’ve never found merit in just cranking anything out, there’s a bit more to it. So in that way, NaNoWriMo served me well. I walked away. NO is a good thing to find too.
My sentiments exactly, but still it’s very good to hear you say it. I’ve hardly told anyone about my writing because I haven’t got much to show for it.
But just as you say, I’ve always had the feeling that I see things differently, and I think I have accepted that it takes a while to learn how to express it in writing. The way I see the world is pretty fantastic, no wonder it’s hard to find the words to match!
thank you for sharing then. I absolutely love when other writers are willing to admit when his or her physical acts of writing have come to a lull. yet still, he knows that what he is is a writer.
I can relate to that sentiment all too well.
I look forward to all of your entries. I’m rooting for you to keep true to yourself and to your passions.