NaNoWriMo & Bad Feet

 In Author

Many writers greet November with equal parts dread and anticipation because it’s National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. For thirty days, veteran and novice writers join together to eke out fifty thousand words at a frenzied pace. This works out to around 1667 words per day for the month of November. For all the non-writers out there, fifty thousand words is a bunch. Most novels run eighty to a hundred thousand words, but fifty thousand is a pretty good rough draft.

This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I’ve never even come close to the fifty thousand mark. My first thought this year was “Why bother?” after all, I knew I wouldn’t achieve the set goal. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. I can’t move on until each paragraph—and sometimes each sentence—reflects what I want to say. Translation: I’m SLOW. Why torture myself with NaNoWriMo? But then I remembered my bad feet.

Running is my favorite form of exercise. Cycling makes me feel like I’m going to fall, and swimming (honestly) makes me feel like I’m going to drown. And so I run, ignoring my aging hips, the ACL replacement in my right knee, and the surgery I’ve had on both feet. But here’s the thing: I don’t run marathons, and I don’t run every day. Instead, I run 12-15 miles a week—enough to get my heart and those endorphins pumping without hurting myself. And I’m happy with that.

Ditto for NaNoWriMo. I don’t have to force out fifty thousand words in a mad frenzy this month to participate. I just have to write. And that’s enough. Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on what we can’t do. It’s self-defeating and unproductive. Concentrate on what you can do, and you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.

So I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep running. And perhaps one day, I’ll discover that my physical ailments and perfectionism have been blessings in disguise. They might even be helping me reach my goals. Who knows? If it wasn’t for bad feet, maybe I wouldn’t write so much.

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