Author’s Note: Another first Wednesday of the month, another post for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Be sure to check out the many other writers participating in this blog hop. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for leading the IWSG. Thanks to the awesome co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler and Elsie is Writing!
I wrote a post last night talking about what to do post-NaNoWriMo, and how despite not reaching your 50,000 word/30 day goals, you shouldn’t consider yourself a failure. I didn’t make it to 50,000 words in 30 days, yet I’m refusing to hang my head in shame. I got started on a work-in-progress, and I’m extremely excited about the direction the WIP is going. I can’t be bothered with “winning” and “losing,” and I cringe everytime I see someone refer to themselves as a “failure” for not “winning” NaNoWriMo.
I posted this on my Instagram feed last night
My post earned the following comment: “So the other people should be declaring themselves failures?”
I responded, “Nope. NaNoWriMo unintentionally creates this “winners” and “losers” mentality, meaning quantity somehow trumps quality. No one should declare themselves anything, except “finished” when they’ve reached the last page of their novel.”
It got me thinking about a lot of the congratulating that’s taking place by those who’ve “won” this year’s NaNoWriMo. Of course they should congratulate themselves, and hold themselves up for praise. I congratulate you, as a former winner myself. However, I can strongly feel the insecurity from those of us – well, I’m excluding myself, for obvious reasons – who are made to feel that just because we didn’t finish what we set out on beginning November 1st, that somehow we’re “losers.” Or “failures.”
Writing is a competition in which the only person you’re being challenged with is yourself. It’s like a marathon, and you’ll hear a lot of comparisons made to running and writing; Haruki Murakami even wrote an entire memoir called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. You’re not competing with other writers to see who can reach 50,000 words first. You’re competing with yourself to see if you can write the novel you’ve already written in your head.
As writers, we deal with enough insecurities, about our writing, about the publishing process, about whether or not we’re cut out for this whole writing thing in the first place. What we don’t need is the good intentions of NaNoWriMo to foster needless competition, thereby further fueling our insecurities.
Me thinks this writer may skip NaNoWriMo 2014, just on principle. What say you?