I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to write about imposter syndrome. Because I feel it in so many areas of my life. It’s not a confidence or self-esteem thing. I’m generally confident and content with life. It’s just a feeling of knowing that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing and/or I don’t “belong” where I am. I often feel it about being a college professor, since I took an alternate route and didn’t get a Ph.D. Sometimes I feel it about being a lawyer, although I don’t care as much since I don’t practice anymore anyway. I always feel it about being a writer. This is the one that stings the most. How can I call myself a writer, an author, if I rarely publish or rarely write words on paper for that matter? How can I be a “real” writer if it’s all in my head?
National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is every November (though I believe they’ve started doing one in July as well). Every year for … years now … I’ve wanted to do it. I think I even tried to do the summer one eons ago but can’t find anything on it and didn’t have a log in for the site so maybe I just dreamed it. Anyway, I decided to take the plunge this year.
Why – in 2020 of all years – the year that has sucked so much – there’s just no other way to say it – did I decide to do it this year?? I haven’t the slightest idea. Despite it being 2020 and teaching 6 classes and, well, life in general, I decided to sign up and pledge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. And I decided at the last minute, with no planning whatsoever.
In trying to recall what was going through my head a month ago, I’m thinking I acknowledged that life’s always busy, I’m always teaching more than I thought I’d be, I’m already “stuck” at home (though, honestly, home is where I prefer to be), and there’s always a million reasons not to do something. I suppose I thought I was being “wise” in acknowledging that I was just making excuses to not do it all those years before.
I was so darn excited, wasn’t I?
I don’t know whether to laugh at myself or have a good cry.
So I signed up and “pledged” to write 50,000 words in 30 days on … what exactly? Well, since I had done no planning, I thought I’d just “pick up” one of the novel ideas that’s been floating around in my head for 20+ years. There are several of them, but, for two, I have actually committed words in writing at various inconsistent times over the years. So I thought I’d go back to one and actually finish it this year. I didn’t even really know what to call the project really, but I calculated how many words I needed to write on weekdays only (because I can’t write on the weekends when hubs is home; though he’s clearly not the problem). Then when I missed the first couple of weekdays, I recalculated. Wash-Rinse-Repeat.
At some point, I simply gave up. Quietly. In my head. I knew I wasn’t going to do it and the idea of failing just sat in the back of my mind, cackling and mocking me.
So now November is over, and I didn’t write a single word for NaNoWriMo.
Sure, I wrote other “stuff” – teaching materials, papers for a certification program, maybe a blog post or two, and even guidelines and instructions for an accountability group I help admin (ain’t that funny? I help admin an accountability group?!)
Nonetheless, another month has passed and I’m still sitting here wondering whether I’m really a writer or just dreaming.
Yeah, a good cry it is.