I wrote a novel in a month. Well, okay, I wrote 50,000 words in one coherent story in a month. That’s still an incredible accomplishment. I came to an important realization about myself towards the end of the writing adventure, and I don’t see how I could have learned the same lesson without all of the days of hard writing that led to it. Writing when done at such a grueling pace for me becomes almost meditative, and the story arc that led to my realization was one that necessarily had taken days to develop. I may have given up a lot of things for November in order to have this NaNoWriMo experience, but if given the chance to make the choice again I wouldn’t do anything differently.
I wouldn’t embark on another such grueling challenge immediately, though. If someone presented me with a similar challenge for December, I would have to think long and hard. Because while challenges are how we learn and grow, we need rest, too. I’m certainly looking forward to getting regular full nights of sleep again. I’m looking forward to giving my apartment a deep clean. And I’m looking forward to getting to read more again. There are a lot of other things I’m looking forward to doing now that I’ve accomplished my November challenge, but most importantly, I’m going to rest. I’m going to give myself a break, and not try to do too much for a while. I’m just going to relax and let life happen.
I probably won’t be taking a break for too long, because I’m a pretty driven person, but the fact remains that I need a break. I need to give myself the time and space to just sit back and appreciate the magnitude of my accomplishment. I need to share my success with a few people and give myself permission to brag a bit. I need to spend the time re-reading my writing, and ponder what my next steps are for the draft. And I need to just let myself relax. It’s when I’m relaxing that those small smiles can sneak to my face, as the thought comes seemingly out of nowhere — I won NaNoWriMo!
In the hectic world we live in, it can be all too easy to forget to give ourselves the time and the space to just relax. Even without taking on major challenges like NaNoWriMo, there are the myriad little commitments we bring into our lives through work and our social lives that chip away at the place that we have for ourselves to just be. I did NaNoWriMo in part to reclaim something of myself I felt I had lost, and I certainly learned a lot about myself and became reacquainted with parts of myself I had forgotten about. But now I need to give myself a chance to digest and simply be.
My coworkers and I got to digest this on Monday!
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