NaNoWriMo Day 21 – looking back in learning

Dear Friends, last night I managed a reasonable number of words thanks to being alone in a hotel room with no significant distraction. No, Gary Sinise, not even you.

As predicted, the day was then busy, but I learned quite a few things. I attended usability testing for the IT system I manage, and I learned that people are far kinder than we deserve but also that on the whole they very sensibly agree with me about what needs changing. It was very affirming to find out that I do know what I am talking about.

Have you ever had this happen: that you are doing a task, be it at work or home or in a volunteering setting, and you just feel everyone else knows more than you and you will be exposed as a fraud any moment? Imposter Syndrome. It affects a number of people, including high-fliers (unlike me!) and usually women.

I feel Imposter Syndrome almost all the time at work. It’s great to get evidence like we did yesterday, so I can prove to myself that I am competent. I do listen to hard evidence like that, rather than the assurances of colleagues. They can tell me if the system works for them (is good enough), but they can’t tell me if I have provided the best possible solution or not.

So I learned I am OK. Felt good.

I also learned that I still don’t care enough about what I eat. I didn’t have time for lunch, so I ate junk food in the testing session. Then I felt rubbish all evening. Just say no, EBL! When the nice lady offers to go out and pick up a salad for you, nod! Stop thinking you can’t be a trouble to her – the shop is literally opposite the office door.

So I learned I need to value myself better. Nothing new here, move along.

The train home was the one all the commuters catch so there was no chance to write until we got to York. If I want to be chirpy about it, I could say that fortunately there was a signalling problem and we were delayed which gave me more time to write. I could say that, but I was tired and felt bloated from the crisps, and wanted to get home to see Sigoth and check mother had not been killed by the new carers.

I got home, saw Sigoth, and mother was alive. So that was all good too.

I wrote a little more in the evening but somehow it slipped into editing. Total: 910 words.

I learned I need to focus on writing still. My approach to writing the shell and then filling in had worked really well up until this point, but now when I go back to extend passages I end up re-reading and editing instead. If this was a real novel then that would be fine, but this isn’t any novel, this is a Novemberful, high-octane, quantitatively-assessed NaNoWriMo novel, so word count is still the holy grail.

I learned I don’t really care about word count. I knew that before, but got sucked into it by the pretty bar chart. Now I see it again. Hurrah!

I’ll share an Advice from British Quakers with you about learning, which I find helpful.

There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and arts, in our work and friendships, in our sorrows as well as in our joys. Are you open to new light, from whatever source it may come?