Look, I just… Unflinching optimism just isn’t my natural state. And statements of said unflinching optimism, spoken sans irony, bitter sarcasm, or weary sighs do not often from my lips spring forth.
But, you know. It’s three days before the start of Camp NaNoWriMo, and today’s Prep Challenge (found in the Camp Care Package) is to write “three affirmations: one for each of your three biggest fears or anticipated obstacles in starting your April writing project.”
So. Here we are. I am the architect of my life. I am worthy and deserving of love. I am a calm blue ocean. I am going to give this an honest attempt, even if this it sort of antithetical to the way my (admittedly) messed-up brain works. I radiate beauty, charm, and grace. My nature is Divine.
What are my biggest fears about Camp? Same as my big fears about embarking on any major creative project:
- That none of my ideas are original, and that nothing I have to say has any merit, or has been said before (and better).
- That I’m hopelessly lazy and distracted, and won’t actually follow through and finish the project.
- That I will finish the project, and it will suck, and I will be forced to confront the fact that I am a hack and everything I do/attempt/touch is destined to turn to utter shit in my hands.
These aren’t concerns unique to April; this is the overriding internal monologue that often dictates my life — White, middle-class, able-bodied mom – ugh, yeah, that’s an interesting sounding perspective on the world. That angle totally hasn’t been done to death.
When was the last time you actually finished a project longer than blog entry? Oh, and speaking of blog entries, how long did that last particular feat of literary brilliance take you? Eight days? Jesus Christ, you’re pathetic.
You know you’ll have approximately 3.5 seconds of feeling good about yourself if you do finish, and then you’ll read someone’s summary and excerpt, and holy shit, did they really write this in thirty days, because their prose has the cadence and grace of a Bolshoi dancer, and yours… well, you remember those hippos in Fantasia? Yeah, so, like that, but worse, somehow. Why do that to yourself again?
And before anyone feels the needs to point it out in a misguided attempt to reassure me – I don’t fully believe any of that all the time. I have good days and bad days, as does everyone, and those reactions are the worst of my worst days. But there is a grain of truth to them that I think need to be acknowledged.
I am — demographically — a dime a dozen. My perspective, on a broad scale, in not especially unique.
I have trouble focusing on and completing even the most basic, essential tasks — I’ve expounded on that at length.
I’m not a bad writer, but inevitably I stumble of fellow NaNoers who have a style or a flair for words that is enviable, and that always causes me to cast a critical eye on work that I would otherwise have been quite proud of.
So, I’ll try these affirmations. They won’t be quite as pithy as “calm blue ocean,” but I’ll try.
- My beauty is in my details. My experience in the world may be typical on a macro scale, but the microcosm of my life and thoughts are unique to me. Every voice deserves to be heard (though I will try to both respect and not to speak over the voices of those who share fewer of my privileges.)
- A year ago, I would not have been able to complete even those blog entries – small steps forward are still steps forward. One at a time will still get me where I’m going – if not in thirty days, eventually.
- That electric thrill I get when you read other people’s beautiful words can be harnessed and converted from envy to inspiration; I need to let it push me to get better, not give up.
Did I do the happy thoughts right? Did I do good?
What are your affirmations for Camp?