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Sunday, November 8, 2015

NaNoWriMo and My Writing Anxiety

I started doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) back in 2007. I heard about it from one of my homeschooled friends. I started late and I finished early. I couldn't believe it. That was my senior  year of high school. I also completed my manuscript in 2008 my first year of college. I haven't been successful since. I think it's because I became an English major. Writing stopped being a hobby and became homework instead. It became something that was required of me instead of something I did for fun.

I began writing at age 14 as a way to escape my real life. My mother and my step-dad both have mental illnesses. Growing up was rough. I was the oldest and I was expected to take care of things when they couldn't. I felt like I had no one to talk to who would understand what I was going through. I immersed myself in this fantasy world with a timeline of 15 years and contained nearly 50 characters. It was my secret and I didn't tell anybody about it. They knew I wrote a lot but nobody knew what it was. I hoped that if I believed in it hard enough I could stop existing in this world and start existing in that one.

I was incredibly insecure. It wasn't even really because of anything anybody said. My parents and teachers praised me for being so smart. My friends seemed to think I was reasonably funny. I didn't believe them. I felt inadequate.

Then once I started dating Josh things got better. He was nice to me, he complimented me, he actually thought I was smart and pretty even though I was sure that I wasn't. Then I got scared to write. I felt like there was a link between my unhappiness and my writing. I was scared that if I started writing my unhappiness and my anxiety would come back.

I forced myself through my writing classes. I only produced a few pieces I was actually proud of. Now I'm 25. I'm married and I'm the happiest I've ever been. But trying to write my NaNo is painful. I have all of these "bad" habits when I write. I don't know how to get back in the groove.

So I've been sitting in my dark bedroom listening to my music that makes me want to cry and playing solitaire until my eyes feel like they're going to fall out. I didn't have the internet on my computer in high school. I had microsoft word and solitaire. The words are coming though. So I guess that's good. I just hoped I had moved beyond these habits but I guess not.

I'm scared to write in public or where other people could potentially read over my shoulder. These words are my safety net to protect me when the world falls apart. But I have Josh now and my world shouldn't fall apart anymore.