Why Am I Holding Back?

Feel awfully strange tonight, and for the last week or so. Even before the whole bit about the shift change, I’ve felt off and with no inkling of how to right myself. I’ve been showing up to the page, I’ve been getting words down, but I’m not feeling it. It’s all lifeless, like I’m playing with a dead thing.

And last night, I skipped writing altogether. I went to my computer tonight and there wasn’t anything there. Not even a word.

I had had such plans for October. I had minimum word counts, I had targets, I had expectations — but I made and met none of them. And now NaNoWriMo is coming up and I’m wondering how the hell am I supposed to do this?

I have only won NaNoWriMo once, and that was my first year. I had the novel roughly outlined and I wasn’t working. Some days it took me an hour or two, other days it took me three, four, even five. Somedays I wanted to cry. Others, you couldn’t hold me down. And finishing? Fuck, that felt awesome. One of the best highs ever.

Since then, I’ve failed every year. The second year was a two-week trip to British Columbia, greatly awesome and worth missing NaNoWriMo for. The third year was the first year that I cheated by working on an existing project while holding down my day job. I got a chunk written, but did not get the full 50,000 words. Last year I had a pretty good excuse. (I also discovered I am not a “write through the pain” kind of person, or at least it’s not yet a skill acquired.)

Is that it? Is it that terrible anniversary coupled with the fear of failure?

My anxiety is climbing, a choking vine that will bloom in the darkest hour. Worries about the new night shift and coming home so late. Worried about how well I can do my job, if I can handle the heat of escalations. Worried about getting the weekend off for the convention or losing my deposit on the rooms if I don’t. Focusing on what I lost a year ago this November, instead of looking forward.

Excuses. Right? That’s the tough girl talk, the screw your courage to the sticking place rallying cry.

But I don’t feel very brave or confident. I feel like my heart has turned into this tiny bird whose trembling wings are beating furiously inside my chest.

I want my bravado back. Need it back.

It’s going to be a long, cold November if I can’t find it.


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