I love starting new challenges off on a good note, but I’m always afraid that if it’s too good on day one, I may fizzle out before I finish it. I didn’t beat my word count from yesterday, nor did I make my word count goal, but 7,305 words for the day isn’t so bad either.
The very first writing challenge I ever participated in was NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, for those of you that may not have heard of it. I won my first year, by clawing and grasping at that 50,000 word goal at a mere 50, 234 words. Not too shabby for someone who never wrote so consistently and dedicated to finishing a goal like that. It sparked something in me that year. It created this literary monster who never loved writing so much as she did that November. I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since, with the exception of one year that I made the decision that I just wasn’t in the right headspace. I wasn’t, but I still regret not trying that year.
Challenges aren’t for everyone but they do work for me. My toughest competition is myself. I choose the challenges because it forces me to do better, to be better than I was before. And I’m never as competitive with others as I am with myself. Some people need others to compete against, but I found that, for me, it led to me comparing myself to others I was competing against, and sometimes, that can be more detrimental than helpful.
I don’t always win my challenges. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for almost two decades now, and I’ve probably finished about about half of them. Am I happy with that? Not really. I want to be better than that. As much as I compete with myself, I’m also hard as hell on myself. Guilt, shame, and a lot of other negative feelings bring me down, and make it difficult to continue when I’m not doing well.
I push through it as much as I can, but some days it’s harder than others. Some days, I can push through it. Other days, I curl up on the couch with a pint of ice cream and self-pity and binge watch shows on Netflix. But I always come back to the challenge at hand. Because in the end, I want to be better than I am. And I can’t do that sitting on the couch with a pint of ice cream…
Though sometimes I still take the ice cream to my desk, because well, ice cream.
TOTAL FAST DRAFT WORDCOUNT: 21,971 words.