I’d apologize for the recent influx of posts regarding the progress of my novel throughout this first week of NaNoWriMo, but the thing is, I’m not sorry. And furthermore, I don’t feel like I should be sorry. How many hundreds of mundane photos of your kid(s), grandkid(s), have I endured? How many hateful political posts have I had to weed through to see how and what people are really doing? I have reignited a passion that has lain dormant for far too long, and I refuse to keep quiet about it.
That’s not to say you have to be subjected to it. I understand that I’m the only person who’s capable of being this excited over my participation in a contest to write 50,000 words in 30 days. So feel free to hide me from your Facebook timeline, unfollow me on Twitter, and avoid me if we pass by on the street.* I’d understand. But to those who have followed my journey, more importantly, those who understand– those of you who live with depression, anxiety, self-doubt, any chronic pain or illness- you understand how absolutely rare and beautiful it is to feel so very alive. To feel like you’ve actually accomplished something when the sun goes down, and that you’re working towards a solid, obtainable goal. It fills my heart in such a way I wish to scream it from the mountaintops.
Oddly enough, I happened to pick up one of our bathroom reading materials, The Inspirational Classic “Think and Grow Rich” by Napolean Hill this morning. I skimmed through to a random page, and in prophetic bold, saw the words: “How to Get Dreams Off the Launching-Pad.”
Now, I understand that this is a book about financial well-being, and (to my knowledge) it does not take into consideration the struggle that we with chronic conditions face. What I read was more or less “tough love”, but in a way, still oddly inspiring, and completely relevant to my journey with NaNo. So I’d like to share that with you all.
“A burning desire to be and to do is the starting point from which the dreamer must take off. Dreams are not born of indifference, laziness, or lack of ambition. Remember that all who succeeded in life get off to a bad start, and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they ‘arrive.’ The turning point in the lives of those who succeed usually comes at the moment of some crisis, through which they are introduced to their ‘other selves.’
There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it. The stand of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief.”
How many of us wish that we’d start feeling better? I’d say it’s fair to guess all hands would be up at this point. No one wants to live with a chronic condition. But learning to accept it, to love ourselves despite this struggle, and decide that we will (and can) follow and obtain our dreams regardless. That is how we should be living. The stigma around mental illness is overwhelming. It makes many of us, myself included for the longest time, afraid to admit to others (sometimes even ourselves) that this is something we live with. But living with it doesn’t mean we can’t live!
When last week’s post went up, I had a measly 5,084 words. Today I woke up looking at a total word count of 14,207. That’s 9,123 words in just 5 days. 9,123 words closer to recognizing my dream of writing a novel. 9,123 words more than I would have written if I hadn’t said, “fuck it, I’ll try.” I don’t know if I’ll reach 50,000 by midnight on the 30th. My stats tell me that at this rate, I’ll finish on November 25th. But I know that there’s no guarantee my mood will keep up at this rate. I wrote 4,177 words yesterday, alone. Tomorrow I may only write a few hundred.
And it’s awful. I’ll be the very first one to shamelessly admit that what I’m writing will be nowhere near ready for the printing press come December. That’s not what’s important. I’m not focusing on finding just the right words, or thinking of fancy alliterations. I’m letting my mind free to dream up a story, and I’m doing my best to document the particles of thought floating around in my imagination. I’m getting it out and I’m following my dream. Being good at it can come later. Right now I’m just doing. And that’s okay.
At the end of the day, progress is progress. If I can stay above par for the day with my word count, or stay above water with my depression, I consider it a damned successful day. Of course there will be days when I can’t. And that’s okay, too. That’s why I push myself when I do have the energy. That’s the joy of living with mental illness, or chronic pain. We know the sunshine doesn’t last, so we play our hearts out with a passion most people cannot understand until it gets dark again.
And I will not shut up about that… <3
*(Implying I’m leaving the house this month, LOL!)