Absolution (A to Z Bloggers' Challenge Day 1)

As of last night, I was uncertain if I was going to undertake both Camp NaNoWriMo and the A to Z Blogger's Challenge for the month of April. But I read a post just this morning of a fellow blogger, Joanne Phillips, doing the A to Z Bloggers' Challenge, and her first post was "Aim high." After that call to arms, how can I not attempt both Camp NaNo and A to Z? 

A IS FOR "Absolution." 

There are several reasons I've chosen absolution to start of this challenge with. With such lofty goals for April ahead of me, I feel absolution is absolutely necessary. Absolution is a "formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment." (Source: Oxford Online Dictionary.) With that definition in mind, it's only natural for me to absolve myself from guilt and punishment this month of April.

Note that I did not absolve myself from obligation this month. In fact, I've given myself a lot of obligation. For me,  an intermittent blogger at best, I must rise to the challenge of commitment.

However, there are several things that I feel I do need to absolve myself from this month, and forever, really. 


This is a big one for me. Not that I am a particularly fearful person, but in terms of sharing my writing, there are several things I do fear. I fear failure, I fear ridicule of others, I fear putting my work out there and being told it's not good enough. I could list a million more things concerning my writing which I fear, but I don't think it's good to focus on the bad. Instead, I want to focus on the fact that I am absolving myself from these fears. I can throw them aside and I refuse to let them control me and my writing. I will take chances and put my work out for others to read. I will pursue paths that I ordinarily wouldn't just to laugh at fear in the face.

Lingering on First Drafts:

Ugh, this is a big one. And a timely one. My first NaNoWriMo taught me a lot about getting the words out on the page. If there's some coal, there's probably a diamond hidden in there somewhere. That is, as long as I have a lot of words (my coal), then there's a chance that I can find the words to keep (the diamonds). But first drafts never live up to my expectations. My first drafts always need a lot of work, and some need more work than others. But NaNo taught me to get the words down and worry about revision later. 


All right. I'm a perfectionist. Not in everything, but in writing, I am undoubtedly a perfectionist. The problem is, that I tend to lend myself to criticism. Oh, all right. I abandon myself to criticism. Perhaps that's why I find critiquing others' work both so rewarding and so hair-tearingly annoying. It's never good enough. That goes for my work and the work of others. The problem with perfectionists is that they hold themselves to such high—often unreasonable—standards, that they tend to hold others to those same unreasonable standards. In other words, it's never, ever good enough. But if you've been at the hand of my critiques, don't despair. I apply the same high standards to myself. No wonder I'm such a compulsive line-editor.


At first glance, mistakes may seem to be a synonym for perfectionism. But it's not. We all make mistakes. Mistakes can be both deliberate (where you know you aren't doing the right thing and do it anyways) and accidental (where you think you may be doing the right thing, but it turns out you didn't). But the thing about mistakes in writing, is that sometimes, they can be the diamond in the rough. There are times where I've thought I've made a mistake and then returned to the novel to realize that my "mistake" is the one thing that is actually going right in that novel. The other stuff, the path I thought the novel was going down, was the dust, the distraction, and the "mistake" was what I found I absolutely had to pursue. So I hereby absolve myself from making mistakes, in the hopes that I make a few good ones along the way.

So for the month of April (at least), I intend to absolve myself not from obligation, but from fear, lingering on first drafts, perfectionism and making mistakes.

What are some things you resolve to absolve yourself from this April?

Today is the last day to sign up for the A to Z Challenge.