As of November 6th, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year.
I signed up because it’s tradition – as much a part of my Novembers as going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving.
I signed up because I always think back to my first NaNo in 2010. The rush of the race. The camaraderie on the forums. The blessing of making my Avalon outlaws’ acquaintance.
I signed up because I said I would. I said it because I felt I had to. Felt like I needed someone’s permission not to participate, or a Valid Reason™ not to.
Well, I’m giving myself permission, and declaring my reasons’ validity.
I quit because this year, my heart doesn’t have the energy to throw its whole self into a project of any ambition.
I quit because over the first less-than-a-week of this year’s NaNo, I started stories that I quickly became too scared to continue, because how could I give them the tender attention they needed in the scant hours between the new day job and bedtime?
I quit because the NaNo numbers game is not playing well with my depression, and does not suit my process right now.
I quit because I’d rather let myself fall in love with a few hundred words every day – or every two days, or a few days here and there with a rest in between – than miserably churn out thousands of words I don’t have the wherewithal to care about.
I quit because, if I can’t relax into writing, then for the sake of my mental, emotional, and physical health, I really need to let myself find that rejuvenating downtime somewhere else.
I quit this arbitrary writing deadline so that instead I can read and color, play music and play with my nephew, take walks through autumn’s glory, and maybe sometimes just do nothing – all without a self-imposed burden of guilt.
I quit because, contrary to my anxiety’s belief, I don’t actually have anything to prove by forcing myself on.
I quit because I already know I have the discipline to make myself finish NaNo. Now it’s time to exercise one of my weaker strengths: The strength to say “no” and walk away.
I quit because, just as you can come out of a NaNo a winner even without hitting 50K, there are ways to lose even if you do.
So auf Wiedersehen, NaNoWriMo. Maybe next year. Peace out.
(Emphasis, I hope, on peace.)