Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pressure and Writing

Did you know that November is National Model Railroad Month? It's also Peanut Butter Lover's Month, National Sleep Comfort Month, International Drum Month, National Epilepsy Month and Aviation History Month.

Within November we also have Deviled Eggs Day, Gunpowder Day, Marooned Without a Compass Day, Operating Room Nurse Day, Clean Your Refrigerator Day (yeah, that's never gonna happen...) Have a Party with Your Bear Day (really not sure about that one either.....), Occult Day, Sandwich Day, Red Planet Day, Square Dance Day, Look for Circles Day and Chaos Never Dies Day.

Add those your more popular November Celebrations- Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Guy Fawkes Day, and All Saint's Day- and you've got some idea of how the month of November is shaping up. I remember back in elementary school when it was simple: November was when  you traced your hand on a brown piece of paper and drew a turkey's head on the outline of your thumb. Easy.

Now, we've got to deal with No-Shave November.

The reason I bring all this up is not because I have anything against the deluge of seemingly pointless (although probably important to some folks) random holidays, but because November now has a designation that applies to me personally. For those of you who don't know, November is also National Novel Writing Month.

Yeah, I didn't know until a few weeks ago either. And I'm a novelist.

In case you're wondering, I am not participating in NaNoWrMo (as I have come to learn this event is fondly called). I'm not boycotting  it in any sense, but rather I am staying true to the novel writing schedule I've already established and reassuring myself that slow and steady wins the race.

And then I log on to Twitter and see my friends and fellow authors tweeting nightly word counts. *gulp* And when I check Facebook, I read posts with snippets from NaNoWrMo drafts and accounts of fiendish all-night writing forays. *sweating* And I start to ask myself the dreaded question that I am sure lurks somewhere, either deep or bubbling just below the surface, in the minds of all writers: am I writing enough?

At first, a glimpse of the seemingly friendly "#amwriting" seemed encouraging. So-and-so's focused on writing so I need to get to it too! I'm certainly guilty of dropping the writing hashtag bomb. Usually to make myself feel validated for why I just spent my entire weekend holed up away from people and arguing with myself about acceptable diction and syntax. When writers post updates about their own writing progress it has always seemed motivating. Helpful. Uniting us together in the cause.

But now?

Have daily word counts become the new status symbol? Has NaNoWrMo created a healthy sense of competition or a swirling vortex of trendiness and anxiety?

Am I just being paranoid?

Either way, I'll be glad when the event is over. I hope that those participating are writing well and producing drafts that will evolve into great works. I hope that those not participating are still holding true to their writing dreams and being passionate about their own artistic visions.

And I hope that next month is national Nutella month, because peanut butter is highly overrated....

                                                Arrghh!! Too Much Pressure to Write!!!!

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