Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Something's Wrong With Me

I have a pretty competitive nature. I first understood it in high school, though I can recognize that it goes back further. All the way to first grade, at least. My mother probably shouldn't have told me what Mrs. Nadeau said in my parent/teacher conference. But even way back then, I was driven to be the best, have the best grades. No one else had to know about it--only I had to know.

Then in high school, I had a friend junior year who had comparable grades to me and did a lot of the same extracurriculars. We were neck-and-neck for a while with the fundraiser, but she has a much bigger family, so she beat me. She also had an infant son. I didn't realize I was competing until my boyfriend complained that I had no time for him, and did I really need to be on the prom committee? I dropped off it, not because he wanted me to, but because his whining made me realize that no, I did not want to be on the prom committee, I joined it because she did!

Nowadays, my competitive streak mostly manifests in word counts. On our annual retreat, we sometimes do word wars. Except it's really just timed writing, and it's only me that has to write more in 10 minutes than anyone else. Again, it's not because I have to beat them; I just have to write more.

And so it goes with NaNo. Usually, if I see that one of my buddies has written a little more than I have, it spurs me to push through until I top them. I love being the person in the group who has the most words. I don't care if no one notices--in fact, if they lament that they can't keep up, I feel horrible!

But this year, after two days, half my Writing Buddies have a thousand or more words than I do. One even has three times as many! And I don't care!

What's wrong with me?

Being competitive can be a big negative, I know. But it can also be a very important tool for a writer. It can keep you going when you have the don'wannas. It helps build your writing muscles, giving you endurance and flexibility as well as productivity. And mine seems to have disappeared!

I wonder where it went.

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ETA: The above was written Tuesday morning, but I forgot to upload and post it. The first three days of NaNo, I was writing late, handicapping myself with brain fry, and everyone was way ahead of me. Today I started writing early, and wrote a lot! I'm going to have to make that a habit again...

6 comments:

vickyb said...

Trust me - you have NOT lost it! ;)

MJFredrick said...

I was going to blog about this tomorrow!!! LOL! One of the reasons I love Nano is that if I see someone a couple of hundred words ahead of my, I'll push myself to catch up. I'm ahead in my own schedule, but I feel the need to push myself harder when I see some buddies are ahead.

But, MAN, Kelly Boyce is kicking my ass. Last I checked, she had 13000 words in 4 days. I can't even imagine.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL, Vicky, I guess not! It just went on holiday for a few days.

Mary, I was just talking about you to someone. I said there are always a few buddies (you're the main one) that I have this ongoing battle with. One day you're ahead, the next I am, and we curse each other and bend over our keyboards, pounding away. LOL

Please tell me Kelly has no day job! LOL A guy in my chapter is the same, he's at 13k, too, and one of my long-term buddies (so long I'm not even sure who it really is anymore) is at 14k! *scowl*

*goes back to keyboard*

MJFredrick said...

Yep, you inspire me ;) You still kick my butt, though. I don't know if Kelly has taken off this week or something, but I know she works. I knew I wouldn't be able to write yesterday, and while I'm meeting my own goals, I feel a bit panicky when I see y'all's totals.

I hope to get to 10,000 tonight before SPN!

Susan Kelley said...

My first reaction to the title of your post was, 'Only one thing wrong with you?' But I only returned from work a little while ago and being with teenagers all day leaves me a little snarky and sarcastic.
Then I thought, 'Natalie, competitive?' and then I put the sarcasm away for good this evening to say, you go, girl!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

No, Mary, don't feel panicky! Meeting your own goals is what's important! :( Despite my post, LOL, this isn't a competition!

Sue, you crack me up. You're mean, but you crack me up! :)