Monday, May 16, 2016

Limitations (or, Why I am Not Finishing StoryADayMay)

I’m a quitter.

That is hard for me to say. I don’t give up on things that I commit to do. I don’t change my mind, back out, give my regrets and walk away. I finish what I start.

But not this time. This time I quit. And it makes me feel better to say so.

Last September I participated in StoryADay September. I wrote twenty-five short stories over the course of thirty days. It was amazing. It was fun. I loved the challenge of birthing a fresh idea every day. I loved the feeling of having a bottomless well of possible stories waiting for me. I was excited for StoryADay May.

What I have learned: May is not September. For me, the timing of this particular challenge matters. Way more than I ever thought it would.

May is a transition month. School is wrapping up. That means all of the usual: get the kids in bed, out of bed, fed, homework finished. Plus all of the end of year activities: concerts, field trips, graduation ceremonies. May is also the start of baseball season. Add in at least two practices a week to all of the above. It makes for a busy month.

Now, let’s add the kicker. In September I wasn’t working. Now I am working full-time.

The end result is that I truly do not have enough time to generate a new idea every day, develop that nugget of an idea into a story that is ready for me to play with, and write it. Yes, I have time to write (almost) every day. I can squeeze in a little bit of work on whatever project needs me. But I just can’t crank out a short story every day.

I fought this truth for a while.

Then the nightmares came.

I was waking up in the middle of the night, in a panic because I was worried about a story that I hadn’t written or a story that I needed to write the next the day. I was tired. I was stressed.

It wasn’t fun.

Trying to cram in something that wouldn’t fit was threatening to shatter my relationship with writing. I had to let it go.

I am writing every day. I am working on a couple of short stories, a narrative nonfiction piece, and revisions to my novel. I am not a slacker. I am not a failure. I am recognizing my limitations and moving forward.

Damn, it’s hard being a grown-up.

When have you been a quitter? In retrospect, was it the right call for you?


  1. Yikes! I didn't mean to give you nightmares! Glad you're working on the other writing. You're not a failure: you're a graduate :)