Quitting NaNoWriMo on Day 1 (Again)

Over the last couple of weeks, I psyched myself up to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month. As I tweeted on Halloween, I’ve tried and failed NaNoWriMo and made fun of the whole project on an episode of Generation Goat. This year, after a shift in attitude toward the project, I thought I was finally going to do the damned thing.

Then I spent the entirety of November 1 at the bottom of a well full of stress, struggling to tread water while the ugly, evil half of me was pouring buckets of anxiety and bad metaphors on my head.

I have to be very careful how I manage my stress. The anti-anxiety medicine that I’m on does little more than take the edge off, I can’t afford therapy, and I get to be a downright asshole if I’m not careful. Therefore, I’m calling it quits on NaNoWriMo before it turns me into an even worse person than I already am.

It’s a wonderful project for getting people writing, and quite a few of my former students enjoy the heck out of it, but it’s not for me. I can write to a deadline, but not in the middle of the school year, and not when it’s 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m a slow writer, at least when it comes to long things, and it’s time I embrace that rather than continuing to punish myself for it.

NewsE. Christopher Clark