As November 1st speeds my way I found myself struggling with the concept of writing as self-care. Rather than writing to relax I was worried, pressured and anxious about what I was trying to create. At the first hurdle I was feeling a heady dose of failure.
However, this was not the end.
Rather than wallow and fling my work to one side, I reached out to the online NaNo community. If you haven’t searched Twitter using the hashtags #NanoPrep or #NaNoWriMo2016 I highly suggest that you do. The community is all aflutter with the excitement of the upcoming event and there is always someone online experiencing the trials and joys of being a writer.
Through a single post questioning my story (and really questioning myself and my abilities) I received both support and inspiration. Strangers came to my rescue and we bonded over our shared joy of the written word. My feelings were neither unexpected, nor usual and because of that one tweet I was able to push through the anxiety. Rather than trying to ignore my feelings I allowed them to flow and by doing this I freed myself from a long-held mental trap: I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
These five words have been my theme song since early childhood. Stories have been torn up, homework hidden, opportunities missed and adventures avoided, because I allowed those words to permeate my entire sense of self. There are books I have never read because I was scared someone would ask me about them and find my opinions wanting. There are stories I never told because I was convinced that my words would be found lacking. I have spent decades avoiding risk and yet not escaping suffering.
It saddens me to think about all that wasted time. However, thanks to a community of writers willing to share their highs and their lows I am able to erase one word and declare: I AM GOOD ENOUGH.
By the end of this month I may not be starting NaNoWriMo with a detailed plan, my story may continue to change and evolve in ways that are completely unexpected and I may again have a crisis of confidence, but I am not afraid. I will reach out to my fellow writers, I will share my doubts and my fears, I will release those negative thoughts and I WILL WRITE.