The end of a streak?

I’m giving up on NaNo for the year. Part of the reason is a bad one. One of my children resents how much time I spend on the event, and on writing. I know this isn’t a reason to quit. Logically, it is important that my child feels resentful, but it is something I need to talk about with them, not give up something that had once brought me great joy.

The other part is what I just said, if you caught it.

I no longer get joy from the NaNo challenge.

I am resentful of the stress I impose on myself to complete the event.

I am resentful of the frustration I feel when I can’t come up with a satisfying idea within the constraints of the event.

Like, seriously — I put entirely too much stress on myself for this, for what? 50,000 words that I might not finish or publish? An incomplete story that I got to 50K and discarded? A pile of lost printouts and screwed up stats on a website?

I’m done.


And I say “probably” because it is very, very possible that I will change my mind and whip out a story of 50K in the next six days (I’m counting today, the 25th). I say that because I’ve done it before.

But I don’t want to. Right now, I want to focus on Christmas, and the Advent Calendar idea I have for the kids. I want to focus on things that actually bring me joy right now, even if none of those things are “productive” (ie: meeting that weird measurement of what I think other people think I should be doing).

Maybe you’re wondering why i’m making such a big deal out of this. That’s a really good question. Because it’s been part of my identity since 2003? Because I spent 9 years being a regional leader for the event? Because it’s how I met my best friends and it feels like I’m giving up on them if I give up on NaNo?

Because I’m stupid and I make stupid decisions and I can’t do anything right? (I know that’s not it, but that’s what the negative self-talk is telling me.)

That’s it. I’m going to go back to not thinking about the end of a 17 year streak.

By which I mean, probably, that I’ll be able to think of nothing else.

Thus, this blog post.


Identification Issues


Admittedly, I’ve had this thought recently, but I really thought it was insecurity because I haven’t been writing lately.

What if I’m not really meant to be a writer?

Nicki’s Insecurities

Yeah. But then I was looking through my RSS feed reader (because I’m old and I like that particular way of keeping track of the blogs I like) and I saw a post by NaNo – “Pro Tips from a NaNo Coach: Writing During (and About) Times of Trauma“.

Huh. I’ve written about trauma before. But I don’t need to worry about that this year.

Nicki’s Actual Thoughts

I actually thought that I didn’t need the article because I’m not a writer and so I wouldn’t need the advice.

*record scratch*


(I’m trying not to swear.)

I can’t pinpoint for how long, but I’ve considered myself a writer for years now. Probably since I started co-MLing for our local NaNo region. That’s over 10 years. That’s a long time to stick to an identity, and then to just have it slip away when I wasn’t paying attention?

How did that happen?

You all have heard the story. I had a vacation planned (convention) in January and then I came back and got the flu, and then I got Shingles, and that all combined just ground writing to a halt. And oh, yeah, then we all got shut in for Quarantine, and it’s been FUBARed since then. Pandemic, etc. Personal family crisis, etc.

So I haven’t been writing. And I’ve been OKAY with not writing, because I was creating on YouTube in its place. I couldn’t write because Life, but I could record videos and post them online. Creating is creating, and that need was met.

But I’ve been a writer for ages (I tell the story about the 4th grade book about cat eating mouse that I wrote/illustrated a lot, too, so I won’t retell it), and to not feel like a writer right now is…

It’s making me uneasy.

I made another identification shift this morning, too. Unrelated to writing, etc. So that’s not helping.

I’m so very confused.

I’ll settle into things eventually, I’m sure. But for now…


I don’t even know where to start

Well. October has arrived, and we’re inching closer to an election and National Novel Writing Month, and then suddenly Thanksgiving will be gone and Christmas will be here and then suddenly 2020 will be over and it’ll be time to pay taxes and…

October is the start of the fastest time of my life. Let’s just say that. Generally, once October is here, I’m looking forward to NaNo, and then I’m scared because time has sped up and Christmas is almost here and I’m not ready for it, and then Christmas is over and we get past all of our December birthdays and celebrations, and I get to take a break, but then I’ve been so wound up for so long I deflate and take two and a half months to relax, and then, yes, suddenly taxes are due and I’m panicking about them.

But once we get past April 15th (most years *cough*fucking2020*cough*), time resumes it’s normal speed.

For now, though, I’m in October.

It’s different than any other year. I’m (finally) not freaking out or getting depressed about or looking forward to or upset about National Novel Writing Month.

This is M.A.J.O.R.

H U G E .

As in, I haven’t experienced this since 2002, the year before I discovered NaNo. And it only got worse in the years I was working as a co- or solo-Municipal Liaison. It’s been a couple of years since I did that, but those years I were the dark years, not the excited/frantic ones.

I’m grateful that I’m not dragging myself out to events I’m not having fun at. This is not to say that I didn’t like the people at the events. I love many of the people at the events. But I need a break.

It’s going to be interesting to experience a normal October and November. I know 2020 isn’t normal, but a year where I’m not spending every moment in October plotting a novel I’ll never write (I’m a pantser and it’s silly that I keep trying to be otherwise). A year where I don’t spend every second in November kicking myself for not writing. A year where December doesn’t sneak up and kick my ass because I was so busy in October and November, I couldn’t prepare for Christmas. Where my birthday sneaks up. Where the first quarter of the new year slips by unnoticed because I’m so glad the last quarter of the previous one is over.

Well. I’m harping, I suppose. And I make it sound like I have no choice in how time passes or how I spend my time, but I know that I do. I suppose I’m just excited to actually feel in control. To take a little bit of time to really remember what these months feel like without the clutter of external events.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, which probably sounds odd. I’m going to write something. Maybe finish a previously begun novel, maybe write something completely different. But I can do it without guilt, without frustration that’s been plaguing me for the past few years. Without resentment at my inability to accomplish at meetings the very things we are attending to achieve. Socialization with my peers is fabulous, but I used to be able to write.

Well, welcome to October.

Self Care and the USPS

I have decided that as an act of self care, I will be purchasing a book or sheet (or two) of first class Forever stamps every month for the rest of the year.

I am doing this to avoid having to send mail with the ugly postage meter imprint of bright red ink which is my alternative when I forget stamps. I used to keep a book of stamps at the office, and I have somehow let that habit lapse. It was wonderful, though, when I realized I needed to send something out because of a forgotten birthday or anniversary, or because a sympathy card was needed, or just because. I just reached into my sticker and emergency card container (yes, that’s actually what’s in it), grabbed a card and stamp, and I was ready to go.

I am doing this because I love to send mail. For whatever reason, I had three pieces of Real Mail to go out today – one note of thanks, one just because card, and one I love you and miss you card – and it felt so good to put those in the outgoing mailbox. I have always loved receiving mail, but I didn’t think about how much I love sending it as well. Not until this morning.

I am doing this to support the USPS. I won’t get into the politics of it. I’m just going to use the service I love to keep mailing Real Mail to friends, family, and possibly other random people. In fact, I can think of at least five or six people I need to reach out to so they can get in my address book and get into circulation.

I am going to add this event to my calendar. Maybe I’ll end up with too many stamps. That will be a reminder that I’m not reaching out enough. Maybe I won’t have enough stamps. That’s okay, there’s still a postage meter available at the office.

I am not going to feel guilty about spending this $12-24 dollars every month. It’s not allowed. It’s self care for me, to put out messages to friends and family and people who need them. Maybe I’ll even allow myself to send mail to a couple YouTubers who have PO boxes, just to see how it feels to know that they’re getting a small message from me, and to imagine what it might be like to actually get mail like that myself.

It feels like a good plan.

Therapy (and site refresh)

I had my first therapy appointment in two years yesterday. I had last seen this therapist, whom I will now and forevermore refer to as M, because privacy, about two years ago when there was a significant Event in my life I needed help with. I had been stressed for several days leading up to the appointment because honestly, I had moved past the bad day that had caused me to reach out in the first place. I didn’t know what to talk about, because I felt like I had things under control (even though my head knew I didn’t have things under control, but emotions are weird like that.)

Previous attempts at therapy haven’t worked. The first time I went I was in my early 20’s. I spent the entire first session not talking and just crying because I didn’t know how to answer any of her questions. I had my thoughts in a firm lockdown (although apparently not my emotions), and ultimately it turned out that the therapist I was seeing was not a good fit, even though at the time I was seeing exactly the person I thought I needed to see. With the benefits of hindsight, that particular therapist was never going to be able to help me.

My second attempt at therapy was with M two years ago after that life event I mentioned. I went in wanting someone to validate my feelings and decisions, not challenge me to think things through, explore other opinions, or otherwise confront what I had decided was right. Then my grandma passed away, and I had to cancel an appointment to drive to the midwest for her funeral (a 12 hour drive), and I just never went back. At the time I think I had reached one of those points where I felt like everything was okay, and so rationalized not returning because the ripples from the event that sent me there in the first place had settled a bit. But really (again, hindsight), I just didn’t want to deal with the hard things I was going to have to deal with.

Now, as I mentioned in yesterday’s Youtube video, I am going through a family crisis, and with that there are several individual events occurring. The one that occurred at the start of August was the one that made me think, “I need a fucking therapist.” Not very eloquent, but it was just the last straw. I don’t know if I was having a bad day that felt bad, or a bad day that felt fine, but it set in my head that I needed to go back. So I called M’s office, and checked to see if M, or anyone else, had any openings. It turned out that M would squeeze me in since I had been a past client, but I’d have to take whatever appointments I could get.

As you can imagine, therapists are kind of swamped these days.

What’s different now from those previous visits? Am I finally ready to do the work, or was there just a straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak? Probably a little bit of both. Additionally, we are as a family doing therapy for the benefit of one member (but also for all of us) that will be 2-3 times a week in our home for 8 months. And honestly, since I made the appointment with M before we had been prescribed the family-based therapy in our home, I kind of feared that I wouldn’t need therapy with M in addition to the other. But I kept the appointment. And I’m glad I did.

I still don’t know what to talk about, and apparently, that’s okay. I think after I’ve had a couple sessions I’ll probably find something to focus on, but maybe I won’t. M seemed okay with that. She said some folks just need someone to talk to once in a while, and maybe that’s what I need. M also suggested that I go see my primary care doctor to talk about possibly getting some medication for the depression it feels like I have, or the anxiety, or maybe even talk about getting a referral to a psychiatrist who might be able to put a label and the appropriate accompanying meds to kind of help me get some balance.

Because some times I really , really do feel off balance.

So I have another appointment scheduled for the end of the month. I’m not too fussed that it’s a month away (four weeks), although I would have tried to get in again in 2 weeks had it been possible. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully well.

In other news, I have refreshed the header and site icon to match what I did on my YouTube, Twitter, and Patreon pages. I’ll be honest – green is not my favorite color. I like green, green is okay, but pink is my favorite, followed by black, white, red, and rainbow. But my last name kind of implies the color green, and when I found this template on Canva, I kind of loved it. I played around a bit for a couple days before committing, finally choosing the sparkle heart emoji that I put together as the icon. I replaced my face because even though so many channels do have their face as their icon, it didn’t feel right for me. It may be not liking to look at my face, or it may have been the type of photo used, but I really like this more. Green, pink, white, and black feel like my branding colors, to be honest. I don’t know why precisely, but they just feel right.

I hope you’re having a great day!

And if you’re not having a great day, I hope you’re having a good day.

And if you’re not having a good day, I hope tomorrow is better.

Loves! 💖