Last year during November, I wrote a novel. I participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and ended up writing over 50,000 words. I started because Brigette asked me to do it with her, and after the first day of trying to write 1,667 words, I wanted to quit. I remember lying in bed with Grant, freaking out, and asking him how I could tell Brigette I wasn't going to do it. I didn't think I could do it, I believed that everything I had written was awful, but I felt like I should do it, because I told her I would. So much of my internal debates are made of these two components: can't and should. We can all thank my counselor that I can recognize it now. When I talked to Grant about NaNoWriMo, he gave me the biggest pep talk ever, that I could do it. And everyday I spent my time at my computer, listening to the Avett Brothers, writing as much as I could. When I was in the bedroom with my laptop and headphones in my ears, everyone knew not to interrupt me. The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to find a way to silence your inner editor, the one who tells you that you shouldn't waste your time, that you can't do it, that you are writing a bunch of shit. And I wrote a bunch of shit. But I kept going, without deleting, day after day. At the end of November, I ended up with 120 pages of writing. Probably only five pages is really good, but that part is REALLY GOOD. And even my inner editor knows it. Sometime I will take it and try to make it a short story, or build on it for a book. Maybe this is why some of my favorite authors go years between their books?
Last year, I felt like I couldn't do it. This year, I feel guilty that I'm not participating, that I SHOULD be if I really want to write. I just wasn't up for it this November. I don't think our new marriage needs the added stress, and I don't think that I need it, either. But I still feel guilty. I go back and forth with guilt (should) and doubt (can't) all the time. I'm working on it, and one of the ways I'm trying is to only do what I want to do for a week. If I don't want to work out, I don't. If I don't want to do laundry, I don't. There are still glimpses of guilt - the gym part and what I eat particularly. One of the blogs I read had a post today that really captures this and confronts shame, and it's why I love the internet. I thought I was the only one who felt this way, but read this, and the comments, and maybe you do, too? See, we're not alone.